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Clock Tower (Zeitglockenturm)

This medieval timepiece, which once stood before a prison, has an extraordinary astronomical clock and a mechanical show every hour on the hour.

Tell time using the historic hands of the timepiece of the 13th-century Clock Tower (Zeitglockenturm), one of the most remarkable landmarks in Bern. In 800 years, the tower has undergone renovations after serving various functions for the city. Study its complex astronomical clock, which dates back to the 1400s and shows not only the time, but also the position of the sun, moon and constellations. 

Admire the elegant design of the Clock Tower, in keeping with the Old Town setting. Gaze up at its green steeple, which takes the total height of the tower to 179 feet (54.4 meters). Alpine limestone makes up most of the structure, with sandstone sections toward its peak.

Find out about the fascinating history behind the important site. It initially acted as a gate tower to the town’s fortifications in the early 1200s. This structure was later a women’s prison known for holding those who had sexual relations with priests.

Note the crowds beginning to appear a few minutes before the hour to hear the booming sound that rings out through the quaint streets. A clockwork-operated hammer held by a bronze statue strikes the bell. Spend a few minutes watching the mechanical statues appear to dance.

Look up at the intricate astronomical clock just above the tower’s arched entrance. It is covered in Roman numerals and zodiac signs with a complex set of spirals and dials that show the date, horoscope sign and lunar position.

For a simpler way to tell the time, use the enormous eastern and western clocks. Admire the sun and moon decorations on the golden hands. Spiritual paintings of deities and other religious artworks surround the tower.

Arrange a tour of the tower at the main railway station nearby. Find out about the astronomical charts and climb the structure for panoramic views of the Old Town.

The Clock Tower is in the heart of the Old Town in Bern’s center. The Cathedral of Bern, the French Church and the Bundeshaus are among the historic landmarks in this area. Buses and trams stop at many nearby spots.


Guide to Exploring Clock Tower


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See all 487 properties near Clock Tower
Bellevue Palace Hotel £276
Bellevue Palace Hotel

Bellevue Palace Hotel

Kochergasse 3-5, Bern, BE
     
    5.0 out of 5.0 Stars

    This family-friendly Bern hotel is located in the historical district, just steps away from Clock Tower (Zeitglockenturm) and Bundeshaus (Swiss Parliament). Berner Munster and Bern Historical Museum are also within 10 minutes. Bern Station is 11 minutes by foot.

    The Bristol £150
    The Bristol

    The Bristol

    Schauplatzgasse 10, Bern
       
      4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

      Located in Old City of Bern, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Bundeshaus (Swiss Parliament), Clock Tower (Zeitglockenturm) and Bern Art Museum (Kunstmuseum). Berner Munster and Bern Historical Museum are also within 15 minutes. Bern Station is 7 minutes by foot.

      ibis budget Bern Expo £72
      ibis budget Bern Expo

      ibis budget Bern Expo

      Guisanplatz 2 - 4, Bern
         
        1.5 out of 5.0 Stars

        Located in Breitenrain-Lorraine, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Bern Expo and Stade de Suisse Wankdorf. Paul Klee Museum and Berner Munster are also within 1 mile (2 km).

        Kreuz Bern Modern City Hotel £125
        Kreuz Bern Modern City Hotel

        Kreuz Bern Modern City Hotel

        Zeughausgasse 41, Bern, BE
           
          3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

          Located in Old City of Bern, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Bern Art Museum (Kunstmuseum), Clock Tower (Zeitglockenturm) and Bundeshaus (Swiss Parliament). Botanical Garden and Berner Munster are also within 10 minutes. Bern Station is 9 minutes by foot.

          Hotel Bären Am Bundesplatz £121
          Hotel Bären Am Bundesplatz

          Hotel Bären Am Bundesplatz

          Schauplatzgasse 4, Bern, BE
             
            4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

            Located in Old City of Bern, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Bundeshaus (Swiss Parliament) and Clock Tower (Zeitglockenturm). Bern Art Museum (Kunstmuseum) and Berner Munster are also within 10 minutes. Bern Station is 7 minutes by foot.

            Metropole Easy City Hotel £117
            Metropole Easy City Hotel

            Metropole Easy City Hotel

            Zeughausgasse 26, Bern, BE
               
              2.0 out of 5.0 Stars

              Located in Old City of Bern, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of French Church, Bern Art Museum (Kunstmuseum) and Clock Tower (Zeitglockenturm). Bundeshaus (Swiss Parliament) and Berner Munster are also within 10 minutes. Bern Station is 9 minutes by foot.

              Hotel Allegro Bern £114
              Hotel Allegro Bern

              Hotel Allegro Bern

              Kornhausstrasse 3, Bern, BE
                 
                4.5 out of 5.0 Stars

                Located in Breitenrain-Lorraine, this luxury hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Kursaal Bern, Clock Tower (Zeitglockenturm), and Bern Art Museum (Kunstmuseum). Berner Munster and Bundeshaus (Swiss Parliament) are also within 15 minutes. Bern Station is 17 minutes by foot.

                Hotel Savoy Bern £135
                Hotel Savoy Bern

                Hotel Savoy Bern

                Neuengasse 26, Bern
                   
                  4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Located in Old City of Bern, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of French Church, Bundeshaus (Swiss Parliament) and Bern Art Museum (Kunstmuseum). Clock Tower (Zeitglockenturm) and Berner Munster are also within 15 minutes. Bern Station is 6 minutes by foot.