The Clock Tower of Bitola, known as Saat Kula, is one of the landmarks of the Macedonian city of Bitola. The original clock tower was first built in 1664 by Mahmut Bey when the city was part of the Ottoman Empire and known as Manastır. Legend has it that the Turks collected 60,000 eggs from the surrounding villages and mixed the shells into the construction mortar. The Ottomans rebuilt the tower in the 1830s, in the same period when the Orthodox Church of St. Demetrius was being built.
The clock tower is 33 meters high, with sides of per 5.8 m. On all four sides are entrenched special metal plates mounted to the hands and inscribed with Roman numbers from one to twelve. During the Turkish era, the numbers used were Eastern Arabic numerals. On the uppermost part is a small dome, which offers a beautiful panorama of the city and the wider environment. In more recent times restoration was conducted on the tower, which has not changed its original appearance.
The clock tower was constructed with massive stone blocks. The main and also most decorative part of the clock tower is the part where you set the clock. The entrance to the clock tower encircled by large marble blocks is located on the north side and about a hundred stairs leads to the clock, to its peak of approximately 32 m. These steps lead to the top where in the past the big metal bells stood indicating the time. In 1927 its first clock mechanism was developed by the German company Konfage. People that were required to ring the bells were replaced with so called sajdzhii (clock keepers) who were responsible for maintaining the clock and the clock mechanism. At first there was white clock face with black numbers and hands, and was smaller than the present. This clock mechanism was replaced in 1936. 15 new bells (weighing 900 kg) were placed in the tower as a sign of gratitude for the construction of the Memorial Cemetery of German soldiers killed in the First World War.
In 1962 the mechanism was restored, and in 1970 a keyboard mechanism was installed to play new songs. The clock tower is one of the 180 towers in the world which has embedded such a mechanism.
In 2015, an old Turkish inscription dedicated to the tower, long thought lost, was rediscovered and reassembled at the nearby Gazi Hajdar Kadi Mosque. It was crafted by the renowned Ottoman calligrapher Kazasker Mustafa Izzet Efendi, whose work includes the giant medallions on the cornices of the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul.References:
Pembroke Castle is a Norman castle, founded in 1093. It survived many changes of ownership and is now the largest privately owned castle in Wales. It was the birthplace of Henry Tudor (later Henry VII of England) in 1457.
Pembroke Castle stands on a site that has been occupied at least since the Roman period. Roger de Montgomerie, 1st Earl of Shrewsbury founded the first castle here in the 11th century. Although only made from earth and wood, Pembroke Castle resisted several Welsh attacks and sieges over the next 30 years. The castle was established at the heart of the Norman-controlled lands of southwest Wales.
When William Rufus died, Arnulf de Montgomery joined his elder brother, Robert of Bellême, in rebellion against Henry I, William's brother and successor as king; when the rebellion failed, he was forced to forfeit all his British lands and titles. Henry appointed his castellan, but when the chosen ally turned out to be incompetent, the King reappointed Gerald in 1102. By 1138 King Stephen had given Pembroke Castle to Gilbert de Clare who used it as an important base in the Norman invasion of Ireland.
In August 1189 Richard I arranged the marriage of Isabel, de Clare's granddaughter, to William Marshal who received both the castle and the title, Earl of Pembroke. He had the castle rebuilt in stone and established the great keep at the same time. Marshal was succeeded in turn by each of his five sons. His third son, Gilbert Marshal, was responsible for enlarging and further strengthening the castle between 1234 and 1241.
Later de Valence family held Pembroke for 70 years. During this time, the town was fortified with defensive walls, three main gates and a postern. Pembroke Castle became de Valence's military base for fighting the Welsh princes during the conquest of North Wales by Edward I between 1277 and 1295.
Pembroke Castle then reverted to the crown. In the 15th and 16th centuries, the castle was a place of peace until the outbreak of the English Civil War. Although most of South Wales sided with the King, Pembroke declared for Parliament. It was besieged by Royalist troops but was saved after Parliamentary reinforcements arrived by sea from nearby Milford Haven. Parliamentary forces then went on to capture the Royalist castles of Tenby, Haverfordwest and Carew.
In 1648, at the beginning of the Second Civil War, Pembroke's commander Colonel John Poyer led a Royalist uprising. Oliver Cromwell came to Pembroke on 24 May 1648 and took the castle after a seven-week siege. Its three leaders were found guilty of treason and Cromwell ordered the castle to be destroyed. Townspeople were even encouraged to disassemble the fortress and re-use its stone for their purposes.
The castle was then abandoned and allowed to decay. It remained in ruins until 1880, when a three-year restoration project was undertaken. Nothing further was done until 1928, when Major-General Sir Ivor Philipps acquired the castle and began an extensive restoration of the castle's walls, gatehouses, and towers. After his death, a trust was set up for the castle, jointly managed by the Philipps family and Pembroke town council.
The castle is sited on a strategic rocky promontory by the Milford Haven Waterway. The first fortification on the site was a Norman motte-and-bailey. It had earthen ramparts and a timber palisade.
In 1189, Pembroke Castle was acquired by William Marshal. He soon became Lord Marshal of England, and set about turning the earth and wood fort into an impressive Norman stone castle. The inner ward, which was constructed first, contains the huge round keep with its domed roof. Its original first-floor entrance was through an external stairwell. Inside, a spiral staircase connected its four stories. The keep's domed roof also has several putlog holes that supported a wooden fighting-platform. If the castle was attacked, the hoarding allowed defenders to go out beyond the keep's massive walls above the heads of the attackers.
The inner ward's curtain wall had a large horseshoe-shaped gateway. But only a thin wall was required along the promontory. This section of the wall has a small observation turret and a square stone platform. Domestic buildings including William Marshal's Great Hall and private apartments were within the inner ward. The 13th century keep is 23 metres tall with walls up to 6 metres thick at its base.
In the late 13th century, additional buildings were added to the inner ward, including a new Great Hall. A 55-step spiral staircase was also created that led down to a large limestone cave, known as Wogan Cavern, beneath the castle. The cave, which was created by natural water erosion, was fortified with a wall, a barred gateway and arrowslits. It may have served as a boathouse or a sallyport to the river where cargo or people could have been transferred.
The outer ward was defended by a large twin-towered gatehouse, a barbican and several round towers. The outer wall is 5 metres thick in places and constructed from Siltstone ashlar.
Although Pembroke Castle is a Norman-style enclosure castle with great keep, it can be more accurately described as a linear fortification because, like the later 13th-century castles at Caernarfon and Conwy, it was built on a rocky promontory surrounded by water. This meant that attacking forces could only assault on a narrow front. Architecturally, Pembroke's thickest walls and towers are all concentrated on its landward side facing the town, with Pembroke River providing a natural defense around the rest of its perimeter.