Esra Hasip - Macedonia
On a hill overlooking the city Skopje, a 37-meter-high clock tower is being restored in the Gazi Baba district, one of the oldest districts of the city, is among one of the first watch towers that was built in the Balkan lands during the Ottoman Empire. The clock tower itsef is located and is part of the Sultan Murad Mosque mausoleum.
Skopje Clock Tower, one of the oldest and highest towers in the Balkans, was restored in 2008. There is no clear information about the construction date of the Clock Tower and to date, the architect of the clock tower is unknown. According to records in official documents, it was built approximately between 1566-1573. Other sources of information regarding the structure claim that it was built in the period when the clocks and watchmakers were brought in from Hungary. Evliya Çelebi notes in his travel diaries that the clock tower in Skopje which resembles a tall minaret reaching the sky, is the first thing that one sees when visiting Skopje, and that its sounds is heard from quite a far distance.
Hafiz Mehmet Pasa loses his watches
As with many structures during this era, the structure itself is made mostly of timber, and was purchased by Hafiz Mehmet Pasa, the governor of Kosovo in the late nineteenth century. The tower which has a very authentic aesthetic quality is made up of three different parts.
The lower part is made of square stone. The middle part is the tower, which is sitting on an octagonal body on the cut stone base, continues with brick. The upper part is surrounded by a panhandle and a guardrail. A lead coating covers the portico in which the mechanism is located. The clock tower, which is included in the mausoleum of the Sultan Murad Mosque, is among the sections of the mosque where people pray as well as two mausoleums, structures that are still intact till today. The tower in the courtyard of the mosque is also known as "Saat Camii" amongst the local people.
The building, which had been damaged many times in the past and suffered serious damage during the 1963 Skopje earthquake, was dismantled under the pretext of repair. There is no information on where the watches that have invaluable historical values are. The tower, which does not have any watches for sometime received new Swiss watches in 2008 with the contributions of Turkey. However the interior of the building, in particular, needs a comprehensive restoration.
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