Musement shares seven clocks in Europe to welcome the new year.
2019 is coming to an end and it’s time to welcome the new decade. As tradition requires, most will welcome 2020 by counting down until the ball drops. But New Year’s Eve countdowns aren’t just commonplace in the U.S. – around the world clocks chime to welcome the new year. Here’s a look at seven:
1. Puerta del Sol, Madrid
The clock in Madrid’s Puerta del Sol is a symbol of the Spanish capital—and not only on New Year’s Eve. Located in the heart of the city, the clock is witness to many things, but the most prominent is the television broadcast of the bells on the night of December 31. Puerta del Sol is thus one of the most well-known places for welcoming the new year. What many do not know is that the clock has been chiming for more than 150 years since its 1866 inauguration by Isabella II.
2. Big Ben, London
Big Ben is an emblem of London. Located in the Palace of Westminster, its name, in reality, refers to the clock’s 14-ton bells. The tower, constructed in 1859, stands 315 feet high, dominating the London skyline—even more so when it is illuminated at night. Interestingly enough, British punctuality failed on New Year’s Eve in 1962—a technical malfunction caused the clock to chime ten minutes late. Exquisite at Christmastime, London is just as festive come the new year. Even though the clock is still being spruced up and therefore still covered in scaffolding, fret not. The bells will chime at midnight just as they did last year.
3. Astronomical Clock, Prague
The town hall’s famous Astronomical Clock in Prague is an indisputable meeting place for New Year’s Eve celebrants in the Czech capital. The Old Town Square in the Old Town, where the clock is located, is the country’s most famous gathering place for welcoming in the new year. The locations faces a beautiful clock that shows the positions of the sun and moon with figures of the twelve apostles and a circular calendar.
4. Rathaus-Glockenspiel, Munich
The Bavarian capital boasts one of the most unique clocks in existence that is also responsible for ringing in the new year. Embedded on Munich’s town hall, the Rathaus-Glockenspiel clock has been in operation since 1908, playing daily shows at noon featuring mobile figures that recreate local stories. The interior carillon, one of the largest in Europe, consists of 43 bells.
5. Zytglogge, Bern
The Zytglogge, or the Bern Clock Tower, is one of the Swiss capital’s main attractions. Located at the western entrance to the city, the clock tells the time, the position of the sun on the zodiac, the elevation above the horizon, the phase of the moon, the date, etc. And if that’s not enough, animal figures parade around the clock each hour. The Zytglogge is a Bern essential regardless of the time of year, although visiting it on December 31 an unforgettable experience.
6. City Bell Tower, Dubrovnik
Dubrovnik is an atypical end-of-the-year destination, but many have begun to discover all the good things the Croatian capital has to offer in winter and, more specifically, at Christmastime. Its famous 15th-century City Bell Tower is located in Luza Square, where bronze statues strike the bell to indicate the time. These statues, which represent two soldiers named Maro and Baro, hold an interesting story—a true treat to discover during your visit to Dubrovnik.
7. Spasskaya Tower, Moscow
On the eastern wall of the Kremlin, right beside Moscow’s famous Red Square, we find the Spasskaya Tower, home to the ultimate clock to celebrate New Year’s Eve in Russia. Comprised of three gears and ten bells, this clock is one of the Kremlin’s most iconic features—the Spasskaya Tower was the main entrance to the Kremlin; thus, it was witness to a variety of personalities that passed through.