The “Zytglogge” (literally, time bell) stands in the middle of the Bern, at the junction between the more modern shopping streets and the older, lower city. It was originally constructed in wood around 1220 as part of the old city wall and served as an entrance gate and prison. Once the defensive nature of the old city wall became redundant due to the rapid extension of the city, the clock was introduced and has served as the main timekeeper in Switzerland’s capital city since 1405, when the current stone structure was built after a fire destroyed the original tower. The current geared mechanical system has been in place since around 1530 and requires that a counterweight of 450kg be hoisted daily to power the timekeeping and astronomical clocks on the eastern and western faces.
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