Clock face with five decades of history

[b]Hands of Minsk’s unique clock measure time of capital’s life[/b]An unattractive square clock hung over the entrance to the Central Post Office building, which used to chime My Dear Homeland on the hour in the 1960s. It was installed in 1962 to honour the Central Post Office’s 10th anniversary but didn’t show only Minsk time. One could learn the time in 50 other cities worldwide. Each quarter hour, its hammers struck guitar strings, with the sound intensified by dynamic loudspeakers. However, it fell silent after a decree was adopted banning excessive sound in cities in the early 1970s.
Hands of Minsk’s unique clock measure time of capital’s life

An unattractive square clock hung over the entrance to the Central Post Office building, which used to chime My Dear Homeland on the hour in the 1960s. It was installed in 1962 to honour the Central Post Office’s 10th anniversary but didn’t show only Minsk time. One could learn the time in 50 other cities worldwide. Each quarter hour, its hammers struck guitar strings, with the sound intensified by dynamic loudspeakers. However, it fell silent after a decree was adopted banning excessive sound in cities in the early 1970s.
On the eve of the Olympics in 1980, the clock was reconstructed and the new clock face had the names of 35 towns written on it in Belarusian.
Another famous clock appeared in the Belarusian capital on June 30th, 1984, the day the metro was launched. It looked down from the tower of the Minsk Metro Administration building. The mechanism had been manufactured in Armenia while the clock face was produced in Minsk. It was installed in a hurry, since it arrived just a few hours before its unveiling. Due to diligent work, it was working in time. However, when the frost began, the mechanism stopped and had to be reassembled. Initially, the clock was designed to chime but the electronic tuning fork cost so much, the idea had to be rejected.
Meanwhile, those newly arriving in Minsk are always struck by the clock opposite the Railway Station, which is placed on one of two towers — the ‘City Gates’. It is the biggest in Belarus, with a face diameter exceeding 3.5m. Over 50 years old, it was created in Germany and found itself in our country after the Great Patriotic War. The huge mechanism’s weights took up two floors and was wound several times a day by one particular clockmaker.
In 2002, it was decided to restore the facades of the buildings in Privokzalnaya Square and to renew the clock. The old mechanism broke so often, it was replaced with an electronic mechanism. The numbers and hands were removed and brought to Moscow to be painted. Seven years have passed since the renewed clock has again graced the ‘City Gates’.
Clockmakers have been working in the capital since time immemorial. Back in 1591, they united with jewellers, blacksmiths, boiler masters, coppersmiths, carpenters and sword and knife manufacturers as a single craft guild. The guild’s seal bore the image of a clock, a crossed sable and gun, a horseshoe and a key — symbolising their wares and services.

By Yelena Klimova
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