Sarajevo’s 30-meter high Clock Tower is the only public clock in Europe, and probably in the world, that keeps lunar time (“à la Turk”). It is located in the Mudželiti veliki  Street next to the Gazi Husrev beg Mosque in the heart of the Old Town.

Photo: Wikipedia

According to the lunar time keeping system, a new day begins at sunset. Time is measured in 12-hour intervals. This system is used to determine Muslim prayer times, as well as the time to break fast during Ramadan.

Photo by Wikipedia

Since the length of the day changes throughout the year, the official timekeeper is tasked with adjusting the clock on a regular basis. A small observatory in the courtyard of the Gazi Husrev beg Mosque is used for necessary calculations and measurements.

The exact date of construction of the tower is unknown, but it is assumed that the tower was built sometime in the 16th century. The first written records about it date from the early 17th century. It is part of the endowment which was set up by Gazi Husrev beg and included the Gazi Husrev beg Mosque, hamams, schools and a soup kitchen. It was destroyed on several occasions throughout history, most notably in the great fire following the intrusion of Austrian forces led by Eugen of Savoy in 1697, but it was rebuilt every time.

In 1876, local officials concluded that the clock mechanism needs to be replaced. Sarajevan merchants Hašim-aga Glodžo and Mehaga Hadžikapetanović traveled to London to bring the new mechanism. The numbers on the four clock faces and handles were gilded by famous goldsmith Abdullah Kasumagić.