Chasing the sun around the world

By Sergio González | 13:51

We all know a day is 24 hours, yet while on one side of the world the sun is rising on the other it’s already time for sunset. To bring some light into chaos, we’ll be following the most beautiful and unique clock towers around the world.

The question is which country sees the first sunrise? and the toughest one, why? can’t find common ground, yet most agree than once land elevation has been taken into consideration, New Zealand is where world’s day begins. Our first clock tower is on top of the Old Arts Building at the University of Auckland, in North Island. Finished in 1926, it’s a major historic landmark for the country that was born, still as a British colony, in 1841.

The next time zone will also find us in NZ, this time in South Island. Still under repair after the horrible earthquake of 2011, Victoria Clock Tower in Christchurch is a lovely piece of Victorian iron engineering that will be completely restored soon.

Until Oceania joined our global common ground, Japan was considered the land of the Rising Sun. Japanese culture is so special we won’t be keeping time here with a clock tower but with a bell, but not just any bell. In the southern islands of Okinawa there lies a magnificent bell that boasts an incredible story. It was built in the 15th century and somehow it survived intact all the way throughout WWII. So precious it no longer rings 108 times every New Year and it’s commonly known as the “Bridge of Nations Bell”.

Malaysia is our next destination, where locals seem to have a special devotion for clock towers. Get ready to find them on every architecture style ranging from traditional Malaysian to British colonial and postmodernism revisited.  We are focusing on the most different one, just Clock Tower, built in 1961 in Parit Buntar, a town next to Kuala Lumpur and with a pretty famous Friday night market.

Our journey around the world chasing the sun leads us to Dubai and yes, despite the looks, it’s still 2014. Here, our clock isn’t in a tower but “a precious pearl in a concrete oyster from the Persian Gulf”, or something like that. Anyway, the shocking thing about Deira Clocktower is that it crowns a random roundabout in Dubai’s downtown because money here is no biggie.

Noon we’ll find us in England but we are making a little stop in Switzerland before having an Earl Grey. In Bern there’s the cutest clock tower ever, framed in every tourist guide of the Alps and yet surprisingly beautiful. The Zytglogg clock tower is also the living proof of Swiss clockwork mastery; it’s been working for 800 years.

Stopping in England seems totally right but we’ll be skipping the Big Ben this time since the Greenwich Meridian, home of hour zero, and the little city with the same name are are our destination. In Greenwich there’s a pretty famous ball clock tower in the Royal Observatory. Ball clocks are now obsolete as time keeping devices but pics look just as good, and nobody seems to care during New Year’s Eve in places like Times Square, though Americans like their time-keeping totally accurate.

In few other countries you really celebrate entering in a new year like you do in the States. The Times Square Ball takes 60 seconds to drop and it begins at 11:59 so do the math. The 12 rings of a bell in any other kind of clock begin already at midnight aka, New Year.

The end of our journey needs an awesome sunset and we can’t agree on which is best so we’ll let you settle it down. Some think California wins it, and we should be hitting Crissy Fields in San Francisco to see for real a scene used by Hollywood every year. Others think the Chilean sunsets of Tierra del Fuego or Easter Island closes the deal. What do you say?

Photo credit: Lord Ameth

Photo credit: Fabián Sepúlveda M.

Photo credit: Cristo Vlaos

 

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