Alert Sign Dear reader, online ads enable us to deliver the journalism you value. Please support us by taking a moment to turn off Adblock on Dawn.com.

Alert Sign Dear reader, please upgrade to the latest version of IE to have a better reading experience

.

Clock Towers

June 30, 2013

Email

Timeless time tellers

UP until the 20th century, wristwatches were not commonly used. Even prior to the 18th century, house clocks were also very rare. It was difficult for people to know the exact time when they were out of their homes and tall clock towers played an important role in helping people keep track of time when in public places. The clock towers, thus constructed, represented the architectural design of that specific era and of the specific country, that’s why today these clock towers are a symbol of cultural heritage. The first clocks used in a tower had no faces and used a striking bell to alert the surrounding community when to work or when to pray. The first clock tower ever built was the Tower of Winds in Athens, which featured eight sundial clocks. After that a clock tower was designed by Su Song and erected at Kaifeng, in 1088, in Song China, featuring a liquid escapement mechanism. After that a clock was put up in a clock tower of the Big Ben, at Westminster, in 1288 and in 1292 a clock was put up in Canterbury Cathedral in England. Currently, the distinction of having the largest number of clock towers in a country goes to Canada, with a total of 26 towers, then comes England with 19 towers and India is third with 14 clock towers. Our homeland Pakistan has a total number of seven towers, which are located in Karachi, Hyderabad, Sialkot, Peshawar, Multan, Sukkur and Faisalabad.Some of the most interesting clocks towers around the world with both beauty and fascinating history are listed below. These are my favourites and I hope that after reading about their importance you’ll add them to your list of favourites too. Abraj Al Bait -- Saudi ArabiaRoyal Makkah Clock Tower Tallest Clock Tower (2)

The Abraj Al-Bait Towers, also known as the Mecca Royal Hotel Clock Tower, is a building in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. It is the tallest building in Saudi Arabia and is the second tallest building in the world. The clock tower was designed by German architect Bodo Rasch and his firm SL Rasch GmbH. It catches the attention of many people during Hajj or Umrah. Metropolitan Life Insurance Company Tower -- USA

Currently being converted into a hotel, is a landmark skyscraper located on Madison Avenue, in Manhattan, New York City. Designed by the architectural firm of Napoleon LeBrun & Sons, built by the Hedden Construction Company, it was constructed in 1909 and served as world headquarters of the company until 2005. MetropolitanLifeInsuranceCompanyTower9amAugust25th2005 The tower is modelled after the Campanile in Venice, Italy. Located from the 25th to the 27th floors, the clock has four faces, obviously one on each side. The clock faces are 26.5 feet (eight metres) in diameter and each digit on it being four feet (1.2 metres) tall. The old Renaissance look was renovated into a more modern streamlined design in 1964. Merewether Clock Tower -- Pakistan

Well, here it is our very own clock tower situated in old Karachi area. Designed by James Strachan, its foundation stone was laid in 1884 and it formally opened to the public in 1892 by commissioner of Sindh, Sir Evan James and was named after General Sir William, L. Werewether, the commissioner of Sindh between 1868 to 1877. The height of the tower is 102 feet. It is built with buff-coloured Gizri stones and the talent of local craftsmen were well-used to construct a tower in the Gothic Revival style that was popular in Victorian England. The platform is 44 feet square and the height of the tower is 102 feet. All the four sides of the tower boast clocks that are seven feet in diameter. The clocks are at the base of a spire 72 feet high from the ground.pakistan One of the most well-known landmarks of Karachi, the Merewether Clock Tower, or Tower, as it is locally known, is not the metropolis’ most visited or popular landmarks as a result of its historical and architectural value, although it is one of the most crowded points in the metropolis because of its location — at the junction of two main and busiest roads of the business district, I.I. Chundrigar Road and M. A. Jinnah Road. The effects of neglect, time, pollution and often graffiti, are clearly visible on this once beautiful structure. Big Ben -- United Kingdom

Yes here it is, the Big Ben. Situated at the north end of the Palace of Westminster in London, the tower was completed in 1858 and renamed as The Elizabeth Tower from The Clock Tower on the occasion of celebration of the diamond jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II. big ben The Elizabeth Tower is the third tallest clock tower which holds the largest four-faced chiming clock in the world. The Big Ben is actually the big large bell hanging in the tower. In 2008, a survey of 2,000 people found that the tower was the most popular landmark in the United Kingdom. It has also been named as the most stylish film location in London. Former Kowloon-Canton Railway Clock Tower -- Hong Kong

hong kongLocated on the southern shore of Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, it is all that remains of the original site of the former Kowloon Station on the Kowloon-Canton Railway. It is usually referred to as the Tsim Sha Tsui Clock Tower for its location. The construction of a terminus in Tsim Sha Tsui started in 1913 and the clock tower was completed in 1915, the clock tower has become a landmark of Hong Kong. Tower of Victory and Peace -- Canada

This is a bell and a clock tower sitting on the dividing line of the Centre Block of the Canadian parliament buildings in Ottawa, Ontario. Designed by Jean Omer Marchand and John A. Pearson, it was constructed between 1916 and 1927. canada Below the steep roof are clock faces on the four sides of the tower that are 4.8m (16 feet) in diameter. The machinery of the clock was not operational and, on 24 May 2006, the clock stopped for the first time in 28 years, with the display not working at 7:28 for about one day.The mechanical workings of the timepiece were manufactured by the Verdin Company, and are set by the National Research Council Time Signal. One level below the clock is the observation deck that was the highest accessible space in Ottawa until the early 1970s. The Peace Tower has the flagpole of the nation where banners are displayed according to strict protocols. The Rajabai Clock Tower -- India

Fort campus of the University of Mumbai is bounded by The Rajabai Clock Tower. An English architect Sir George Gilbert Scott was the designer of the tower. It is 280 ft high and modelled on the tower of Big Ben. When India was under Britain rule the clock played many tunes from British history such as ‘Rule Britannia’, ‘God Save the King, etc. indiaThese tones used to change from a selection of 16 different tunes. Now it chimes only one tune every 15 minutes. Clock towers are no more a necessity in today’s world, and are more frequently used as backdrop for people to take pictures and a place for tourist to visit now, but they are part of the cultural heritage of their land and should be preserved as such. Rathaus-Glockenspiel -- Germany

This 260-foot tower is a major tourist attraction of Munich, constructed in the second phase of New Town Hall construction. The amazing feature of the unique clock in it is that three times in a day i.e. 11am, 12 pm and at 5 pm, it chimes and re-enacts two stories of 16th century, through 43 bells and 32-life-sized figures.The Rathaus-Glockenspiel The top half of the Glockenspiel tells the story of the celebrations and marriage of the local duke in the 16th century. The second story enacted at the lower section represents the dances and shows put up by coopers to cheer up the depressed citizens during the plague in1517. The shows last for about 12 to 15 minutes and at the end a very small golden bird at the top of the Glockenspiel chirps three times, to mark the end of the spectacle. The Savior’s (Spasskaya) -- Clock Tower Russia

RussiaThe Spasskaya Tower was built in 1491 by an Italian architect Pietro Antonio Solari. It was named the Frolovskaya Tower after the Church of Frol. The Spasskaya Tower was the first one to be crowned with a roof in which all sides slopes are downwards to the walls (hipped roof). The clock on the Spasskaya Tower appeared between 1491 and 1585. This clock was appointed to maintain Moscow’s official time. The old clock is situated at the height of about 60 meters. The clock had to be wound by hand but until the 1937, the clock has wound itself.