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11 photos of world clocks that will leave you lost in time

These clocks are so old, some of them ignore minutes and hours and instead measure the movement of stars and planets.


March 31, 2017 | Latest Photo Prev Next
One of the main attractions in Prague the astronomical clock at Old Town SquareOne of the main attractions in Prague the astronomical clock at Old Town SquarePhoto: 4kclips/Shutterstock
March 31, 2017 | Latest Photo

Time ticks on. The past fades away, and the present melts into the future. Unless you're a fourth-dimensional being, in which case you've already read this article. But even so, you might want to take another look. The concept of time has inspired a whole lot of beautiful clocks around the world, and they're worth admiring more than once. (Beside, everyone knows that time travelers are into clock towers.)

Sacre-Coeur viewed through Giant clock tower in Paris, France.Paris, France. (Photo: Songquan Deng/Shutterstock)

There's a big clock tower in Paris, one that photographer Songquan Deng apparently climbed into to take this photo. Through the clock, you can see Sacre-Coeur, a famous and incredibly beautiful church. Architect Paul Abadie designed the Basilica with a Romano-Byzantine style in mind to contrast with the Gothic style favored during the Middle Ages.

Traditional houses, church and castle ruins of the medieval old town Laufenburg on german swiss border, SwitzerlandLaufenburg, Switzerland. (Photo: Boris Stroujko/Shutterstock)

This fairy tale-like Swiss town is so colorful, it's almost hard to see the bright orange clock. Only about 2,000 residents live in this town, which is actually split between Switzerland and Germany – apparently Napoleon cut it in half along the Rhine river in the early 19th century.

clock tower in jaffa, israelJaffa, Israel. (Photo: Wikipedia)

This lean clock tower's shape contrasts interestingly with the square buildings in the Israeli city of Jaffa, which is located on the Mediterranean Sea next to the much bigger city of Tel Aviv. Jaffa is one of the oldest cities in the world; people have been inhabiting it for 10,000 years.

Independence Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo: Sean Pavone/Shutterstock)

The United States Declaration of Independence and Constitution were both adopted in Philadelphia's Independence Hall which, in addition to being a historical center of democracy, has a pretty awesome clock tower.

Detail of famous old medieval astronomical clock in Prague, Czech Republic.Prague, Czech Republic. (Photo: julius fekete/Shutterstock)

A professor of mathematics and astronomy installed this astronomical clock (and the one in the first photo of this story) in Prague's Old Town Square in 1410. It's the oldest astronomical clock in the world that's still functioning today, which is good news since local legend says that something bad will befall the city if its residents don't take care of the clock.

Holland, Amsterdam, view of the Central Railway Station facadeAmsterdam, The Netherlands. (Photo: wassiliy-architect/Shutterstock)

A lot of people see this clock on Amsterdam's Central Railway Station. The station is a national heritage site, the most visited one in the country. Over 160,000 passengers use the station every day.

Spasskaya Tower Kremlin Moscow summer sunset Red SquareMoscow, Russia. (Photo: Aleksandr Vrublevskiy/Shutterstock)

Moscow's Spasskaya Tower was built in 1491. It sits in the Red Square, the main square in the city, named for the red bricks in the buildings that surround the square. The square has been used as a center of trade, a place to hold festivals and even a medicinal plant garden.

Clock tower with a cherry blossom in background in Kema Sakuranomiya Park, Osaka, JapanOsaka, Japan. (Photo: MemoryOnEachStep/Shutterstock)

This clock in Japan's Kema Sakuranomiya Park is, unsurprisingly, famous for its cherry blossoms. It's a park by the river that's home to almost 5,000 cherry trees, making it a popular tourist stop.

The Zytglogge, old clock tower in Bern in a beautiful summer day, SwitzerlandBern, Switzerland. (Photo: S-F/Shutterstock)

This medieval Swiss clock tower called the "Zyglogge" was the city's main clock for hundreds of years. The tower it sits in, which is even older, has been a center of urban life for 800 years, though it was originally only about 16 yards tall. Since then, the tower has burned down, been renovated and somehow stuck around all this time.

London's Big Ben clockLondon, United Kingdom. (Photo: Alfa83/Shutterstock)

We couldn't possibly leave Big Ben out of this. This clock's fame has grown over the centuries to the point where it's become a cultural icon all on its own. In 1859, the clock's maker called it "the prince of timekeepers: the biggest, most accurate four-faced striking and chiming clock in the world." Nowadays, digital clocks are probably more accurate, but no great mouse detective would ever have an adventure in one of those.

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