The Clock Tower

The Clock Tower

Dubrovnik Clocktower is located on the east side of the Placa. It was constructed in 1929 and is 26m tall from bottom to dome. The Zelenci, which is the name of the figures who toll the bell, and who bear traditional Dubrovnik names of Maro and Baro, depict Roman soldiers. They are covered in a greenish patina which gave them their name (Zelenci roughly translates as “the green ones“). It is unknown who had made these figures, as we lack any historical records on their construction, but we do know that the massive, two-ton bell that the figures toll was made by Ivan Rabljanin. At the start of the 19th century, the tower started leaning towards the Stradun due to several strong earthquakes that hit Dubrovnik at the time.

Pasko Buburica, a rich native of Dubrovnik, financed the construction of a new clocktower, which was designed in a renaissance style with gothic elements. After the construction, the original Zelenci weren’t returned to the tower. Copies of the figures were cast which still live on the clocktower, tolling the bell every hour. The real Maro and Baro are now located in the Cultural History Museum in Knežev Dvor. The Bell of Ivan Rabljanin was returned to the tower, but the people of Dubrovnik think that the bell doesn’t toll as loudly as it had done before the renovation of the tower, when the bell could be heard all the way to the pier’s end.

It is interesting that the people of Dubrovnik had divided the day into 24 hours before the renovation of the tower, calculating the time from dusk until dawn. This made them say that midnight was at 9 o’clock PM. Of course, this way of calculating time was not completely accurate, especialy due to the fact that the Sun sets and rises at different times depending on the season. Life ran slower then than it does now, and this continued until when the pace of life became so quick that a clocktower needed to be constructed for people to know precisely what time of day it was.

Author of the text:

Ana Lazarević -  our correspondent for Dubrovnik
Contact: [email protected]

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