7 Most Iconic Astronomical Clocks in the World, Unique and Artistic!

Rostock, Jerman

The tower or clock building is often a landmark of a city, even a country that is worth visiting. The architecture can spoil the eye or the history is no less interesting. Like the iconic Clock Tower in Bukittinggi, West Sumatra.

Do you want to visit a tower or clock building with a unique architecture? Here are some of the world’s artistic and historic astronomical clocks. Let’s check this out!

  1. Wells Cathedral Clock, England

Besides Big Ben, England also has a clock that is no less iconic, namely the Wells Cathedral Clock. It is considered the second oldest clock mechanism in England. The original mechanism of the clock was replaced around the 19th century, which was brought to the Science Museum.

The clock was built in the early 14th century by a monk named Peter Lightfoot. Previously at Glastonbury Abbey, later moved to Wells Cathedral. Initially, one part of the clock was inside the church, but around 1400 all the clock parts were installed outside the church.

The astronomical clock displays the movements of the sun and moon, the phases of the moon, and the time since the last new moon. The model is a pre-Copernican universe, in which the Earth is at the center of the solar system. At a quarter of an hour, a small robot named Jack Blandifers struck two bells with a hammer with both heels.

  1. Astronomical Clock Rostock, Germany

Turning to Germany, there is the Rostock Astronomical Clock which was built in 1472 by Hans Duringer and restored in 1643. This work became one of the new astronomical clocks until the 15th century. This historic timepiece stands behind the altar of the Church of St. Mary.

The top half of the clock features the procession of the Apostles. They surround the figure of Christ every day at noon. Directly below it, there is a hand showing the time, zodiac, moon phase, and sun. In addition, there is a wood carving containing a depiction of Adam and Eve lying down, added to the clock from 1641-1643.

  1. Le Gros Horloge, France

Le Gros Horloge is an ornate astronomical clock on an archway in the city of Rouen, the capital of Normandy, France. Its design and techniques are Gothic in style and become one of the prides of Rouen’s old town. This gold-plated clock is free to be visited by anyone.

The dial or face of a clock in this work is rich in astronomical symbols. One hand shows the hour of the day, moving above 24 golden sun rays and surrounded by a starry night.

The phase of the moon is indicated by a small ball, just above the dial. On the opposite side, below the VI o’clock, a panel reveals the day of the week, denoted by Monday (Moon), Tuesday (Mars), Wednesday (Mercury), Thursday (Jupiter), Friday (Venus), Saturday (Saturn), and Sunday. (Apollo).

  1. Strasbourg Cathedral Astronomical Clock

The Strasbourg astronomical clock is considered an engineering marvel of the 1800s and is the third of its kind. The first clock was built in the Notre-Dame Cathedral of Strasbourg between 1352-1534. The clock’s scientific complexity and artistic detail make it one worth seeing in Strasbourg’s Old Town.

The clock calculates the date, displays sidereal time on the celestial sphere and has a dial that shows solar time (movement of the sun and moon).

There is a planetary dial showing the gravity of the six planets, visible to the naked eye, as well as a lunar globe showing the phases of the moon. Sculptures and paintings adorn a box that houses a clock dial and a mechanism that works together to measure time and astronomical indications.

  1. Stara Bystrica Astronomical Clock, Slovakia

The clock building at Stara Bystrica is the youngest astronomical clock in the world. Several architects, sculptors, engineers from Slovakia and the Czech Republic participated in the construction process. The building is interesting, the structure ripples and folds around the clock tower, forming a seated woman meant to resemble the Virgin Mary.

A bronze statue of a historical Slovak figure perched in a nearby alcove. Illustration of a parade of small figurines, representing Slovak saints. During the day, the tower bell rings.

The clock, which was built in 2009, is the only horology of its kind in Slovakia. It uses satellite-controlled software, so it can display the actual solar time. This clock is also said to be the most accurate astronomical clock in the world.

  1. Horologium Mirabile Lundense, Sweden

Horologium Mirabele Lundense also called the Astronomical Clock of Lund which is located in Lund Cathedral, seat of Bishop Lund of the Church of Sweden. The clock was built in 138, but after the Middle Ages it fell out of use. In 1923, architect Theodore Wahlin and watchmaker Bertram Larsen invented the clock and rebuilt it.

The top board in the astronomical clock, showing the signs of the zodiac and the phases of the moon. The lower circle, shows a calendar that can help calculate when religious holidays are.

The clock will sound with the traditional Christmas carol (In Dulci Jubilo, from the Middle Ages) from the small church organ, twice a day (12.00 and 15.00).

  1. Prague Astronomical Clock, Czech

Another iconic astronomical clock that has now become world famous, the Prague Astronomical Clock. It became one of the city’s most popular landmarks and is now more than 600 years old. Uniquely, it is one of the oldest functional astronomical clocks in the world.

Also known as The Orloj, this clock shows the time, date, astronomical information and zodiac signs. In addition, it provides several theaters for its viewers every hour. No wonder the mechanism is divided into sections to provide this level of functionality.

The astronomical dial is impressive, representing the positions of the sun and moon in the sky with various other astronomical details. In the outer ring of the backdrop, is a series of glyphs representing ancient Czech time. A set of Roman numerals indicates the time of 24 hours.

Not only are astronomical clocks hundreds of years old with impressive ornate details. Apparently, there is also a modern astronomical clock with today’s artistic and technological buildings. Interested in visiting it?