Time travel the easy way

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On one of Berlin’s most famous squares, Alexanderplatz, you find the Urania World Clock. It was put up in 1969 and is showing the current time in 148 major cities from around the globe. To be able to show this many cities at once, the column has 24 sides, each representing one of the earth’s time zones. In each time zone, the names of major cities that use this zone are engraved.

The clock is driven by an electric motor that makes it constantly move. However, it is hard to notice this movement as it is very, very slow. If you want to read the clock, you have to find the side of the column that has the name of the city written on it, that you were looking for. In the row under the name of the city, there is a number written down, which represents the current hour of the city you were looking at. If the name of the city is not directly in the centre, this means it is not exactly that our yet, but a few minutes earlier or later – it is up to you to estimate the exact time

The clock weighs 16 tons and is so big that you can stand under it. That is probably one reason why it became a popular meeting point for locals – you don’t get wet when you are waiting underneath! Next to being a meeting point for locals and a tourist sight not to be missed, the clock has also been a spot where many protests against the regime of the German Democratic Republic took place in the 1970ies and 1980ies.

Fun fact: the cities Jerusalem and Tel Aviv were only added to the clock in 1997 when the column was repaired. Due to political tensions, they had not been included originally.

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