Clock Tower | Sahat-kula | Sarajevo

…The Impressive Clock Tower and Its Timeless Tales…

Nestled near the iconic Gazi Husrev-beg Mosque, the Sarajevo Clock Tower stands as a majestic symbol of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s past. Erected in the 17th century, this towering structure has stories etched into its walls that transport you through time.

After the Austro-Hungarian occupation, the upper portion of the tower underwent expansion. The arrival of a new clock, brought by two Sarajevo merchants from London in 1874, marked a significant moment. The old Turkish clock that had graced the tower was showing signs of age, prompting its replacement. The new clock, a masterpiece crafted by Gillett & Johnston in London in 1873, now stands proudly on the tower.

The visionary behind this architectural marvel was Gazi Husrev-beg, a prominent Bosnian philanthropist during the Ottoman era. The earliest written records of the tower date back to the 17th century. Ascending its 76 wooden steps, arranged in a square formation, is a weekly ritual for the muvekit, the designated timekeeper, to ensure the clock’s accuracy. The clock requires periodic adjustment due to its unique display of time ‘a la turca’ (lunar time). It’s the only clock in Europe that adheres to the lunar calendar, making it a true marvel. Remarkably, this clock strikes midnight precisely at the moment of sunset in Sarajevo.

During Ramadan, the sacred Islamic month of fasting, when the clock on the tower completes its 24-hour cycle, it’s a signal for iftar, the breaking of the fast. The first chime resonates from the Begova Mosque, followed by the illumination of lanterns and the traditional firing of a cannon from the Bijela Tabija fortress, symbolizing the end of the fast.

As you stand before this exquisite clock tower, imagine the lives it has witnessed, the rituals it has marked, and the history it carries. Discover the intricate connections between time, culture, and spirituality, and let the Sarajevo Clock Tower weave its timeless tales into your journey.


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