The clock of the Vilnius Cathedral

The clock of the belfry of the Vilnius Cathedral is the oldest and most important clock in the capital of Lithuania. It was installed in this tower in 1672. It is presumed that the mechanism of the clock was produced in Germany, but the name of the master is unknown. The date 1803 incised on the forged frame bears witness to the last significant repair of the clock, supervised by the elder of the Vilnius clock makers’ guild Juozapas Bergmanas. When the clock tower of the Vilnius Town Hall collapsed in the late 19th century, this mechanism became the city’s main clock.

The clock has only one hand. Its obtuse end is decorated with a crescent, and the pointed end shows the hours. Bells help counting the time more precisely. They strike the hours, half hours and quarters with chimes. The bells of the clock differ from the other bells in proportion (they have a much larger diameter in relation to the height), and their strikes are less resonant, which makes it easier to count them.

The bell cast by the most famous founder of Lithuania Jan Delamars in 1673 strikes the hours in the cathedral belfry. Its height is 58 cm, and its diameter is 107 cm. The bell is a work of art: it is encircled with a Latin inscription and an ornament, and decorated with the figures of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the patrons of the Vilnius Cathedral, Saint Casimir and Saint Stanislaus.

A smaller bell cast by another famous founder Gustav Mörk in 1754 is meant for counting the quarters of an hour. Small hammers strike the bell every 15 minutes: one strike at a quarter past an hour, two strikes at half an hour, and three strikes at a quarter to an hour; at the change of hours, there are four strikes, and after a short pause the hammer of the larger bell takes over, striking as many times as there are hours.


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