Summer is the perfect time to travel. When you plan your travel, consider adding the world’s famous clocks to your itinerary. Clocks for public use often represent the centres of activities in a community, and often have a symbolic significance.
Let’s start with London. The Big Ben is probably the most iconic and recognisable clock in the world. It is located in the north east corner of the Palace of Westminster, and was officially completed in 1859. It is one of the largest four-faced clocks in the world, with each clock face being 7 metres in diameter. The clock underwent months of restoration and only reopened in December 2022.
The Astronomical Clock in Prague, Czech Republic, is a popular tourist attraction in the city. You often find a crowd gathered in front of it waiting for the show when the clock hits the hour. This medieval clock was built in 1410, and features a complex mechanism, which moves several figures and bells. On the side of the main old town square, it is especially beautiful when it is illuminated at night.
The World Clock in Berlin, Germany, was built in 1969 and is located in Alexanderplatz. It features a total of 24 dials for the 24 time zones of the world. More than a hundred cities are listed so that you instantly know what the local times are around the world.
If you are traveling to Asia, there are a few clocks that are worth visiting. In Yokohama, Japan, not too far from Tokyo, the Cosmo Clock 21 Tower was relatively new, only built in 1989. It stands at a height of 112.5 metres with a clock face of 24 metres wide. The clock features an hourly light show, and visitors can also enjoy the nearby Cosmo World amusement park.
The Rajabai Clock Tower in Mumbai, India, is located in the grounds of the University of Mumbai. It was built in 1878. The clock tower was a construction from India’s colonial past and was included on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2018.
The Makkah Royal Clock in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, is the world’s tallest clock tower and the sixth tallest construction in the world. It was built in 2012, and stands at a height of 640 metres. Each of the four clock faces measures 43 metres in diameter and the clock is illuminated by two million LED lights.
Time telling devices date back thousands of years. One of the oldest is the Obelisks and Luxor Temple on the east bank of River Nile in Egypt that were built in approximately 1400 BC. In Egyptian mythology, the obelisk symbolised the sun god and was the earliest form of sundials. It tells people whether it was morning or afternoon based on the position of its shadow. The obelisks originally appeared in a pair on either side of the entrance to an Egyptian temple. The other Luxor obelisk is now in the Place de la Concorde in Paris.