Clock tower – Zytglogge

Bernese-Midlands

The Zytglogge, also known as the Zeitglocke or Zeitglockenturm, is a historic clock tower in the city of Bern. It dates back to the Middle Ages and is home to one of the oldest tower clocks in Switzerland.

Bern Zytglogge

Bern Zytglogge

The Zeitglockenturm is one of the most visited attractions in Bern and was once part of the city wall in the early 13th century. The imposing bell, which was initially rung manually, was installed in 1405. The clock, on the other hand, is somewhat younger: the clockwork by the German armourer Kaspar Brunner was installed in the Zytglogge in 1530.

The movement of the Zytglogge consists of five combined movements housed in a common case. It comprises the going train, two striking trains and two movements for figure movements. The hands of the clock are controlled by the hour axis of the going train and move above the two large 12-hour dials and the impressive astrolabe clock. The Zytglogge is a fascinating testimony to the art of clockmaking in past centuries and a striking landmark of Bern.

One striking mechanism in the time bell tower activates the hour strike in the top of the tower, while the other provides the quarter-hour strikes, which also sound in the top of the tower. The fascinating figurine games are located in the player’s bay below the large 12-hour display to the east, right next to the impressive astrolabe clock.

Zytglogge with astrolabe clock – Astronomical clock

The clock on the clock tower is one of the most complex and precious clocks in Europe and was created in 1530. It is not only used to measure time, but also provides a wealth of astronomical information. Because of this feature, it is also known as an astrolabe.

The clock has impressive functions and not only displays hours and minutes, but also provides astronomical data such as sunrise, sunset, moon phases and the position of the stars. With its precise mechanics and historical significance, the astrolabe on the Zytglogge is a valuable legacy of the art of clockmaking and a fascinating sight in the city of Bern.

Zytglogge Tower

Zytglogge Tower

Hourly puppet show at the clock tower

A fascinating spectacle begins every hour on the hour: the medieval puppet show comes to life. The dancing bear procession, the mischievous jester and the screaming rooster fascinate young and old – and have done so for centuries, day after day. But do you know what these figures stand for? Or how the mechanics behind the thick walls of the clock tower work and what stories are hidden there?

Immerse yourself in the secrets of the Zytglogge and be impressed by the fascinating details and the long tradition of this cultural heritage. Find out more about the significance and magic of this historic display.

Guided tour of the clock tower

The one-hour tour offers a special experience, not least because of the unique atmosphere inside the tower. Time seems to have stood still here many years ago. Heavy wooden beams, thick stone walls, coolness and silence take visitors on a fascinating journey into the past. The constant ticking of the medieval mechanism accompanies them through the historic rooms.

After climbing around 130 steps, you reach the viewing platform of this monumental memorial. From here, you have a magnificent view of Bern. The impressive view over the UNESCO World Heritage Site with its roof ridges, chimneys and towers is another highlight of this exciting tour. On clear days, the view even extends as far as the peaks of the Bernese Oberland.

This tour can be booked directly online, by phone at +41 31 328 12 12 12 or by e-mail to citytours@bern.com.

Video Bern’s Clock Tower – Zytglogge

Bern's Clock Tower - Zytglogge

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Video Video Making of. . . Zytglogge / Clocktower Bern

Video Making of. . . Zytglogge / Clocktower Bern

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