For centuries, the Sarajevo Clock Tower has been showing the exact time, although to the uninitiated, it seems that this is not the case

Public clocks are decorations of cities and people simply love them. The clocks on the towers are symbols of many cities, and as such, are also interesting for tourists.

Sarajevo Baščaršija is one of the most visited tourist destinations in Bosnia and Herzegovina, full of different sights. But there is one landmark that doesn’t get the attention it deserves. It’s the Sarajevo Clock Tower (Sahat kula). What is its specialty?



Sarajevo Clock Tower (Sahat kula), Sarajevo, Photo: Matthew Goulding, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 DEED


When you look at its hands, and then compare the time they show with your watch, you will think that the clock on the tower is out of order, that is, that the hands do not show the correct time. In addition, the numbers are also in Arabic.

But this is not so, because the clock on the Sarajevo Clock Tower works flawlessly, only it measures lunar time, a la turca time. This means that the hours start counting from the moment of sunset, and not from midnight, as in modern timekeeping.

According to this method of measuring time, 1 hour on the hands actually means one hour after sunset. The time of prayer (Islamic daily prayers) which are determined by the lunar time.


Clock tower, Sarajevo, Photo: Filip Filipović, Pixabay


Since the sunset is uneven throughout the year, watches with a la turca mechanisms require constant control and calibration, which is the duty of the Muwaqqit.

For this reason, there was a  muvakkithane (lodge of the Muwaqqit) next to the Clock Tower, a room with basic astronomical instruments used to accurately calculate the position of the Sun.


The best accommodation in Sarajevo can be found at the Orange Hotel 


The Sarajevo Clock Tower is 30 meters high, and it is assumed that it was built in the 17th century. It is located near the Gazi Husrev-bey mosque and is one of the largest in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

After the Austro-Hungarian occupation, the upper part of the building was added, and the clock was also restored since the old Turkish clock had worn out. The new watch arrived from London, by the Gillett & Johnston brand, and it was made in 1873.



The Sarajevo clock tower (Sahat kula) is one of the symbols of Sarajevo and a witness to its rich history. Even today, it reminds the city’s residents and visitors of the passing of time and the importance of history.




The publication was created as a result of the joint work of the editorial staff.

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