Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Anzali Clock Tower

The Anzali Tower (برج ساعت انزلی) is a brick clock tower, formerly a lighthouse, located in Bandar Anzali, Gilan. It was constructed in the early 19th century during Nasereddin Shah’s reign (and by some accounts Fath Ali Shah's reign) by Khosro Khan Gorji, the Governor of Gilan, and is situated in Anzali Square and is known as the symbol of Anzali among foreign tourists and adventurers.

It is alleged that there was a total of 6 or 7 of such towers erected throughout the province with only this particular one still standing. It rises 28 meters high with a spiral stairway leading to its balcony at a height of 20 meters. The body of the Tower is peppered with tiny windows for light and ventilation. The Tower sits on a base spanning 50 square feet.

The Tower was constructed specifically to be used as a lighthouse by sailors for years and was thus visible from sea as well as land. In 1928 the Tower was renovated and clocks imported from Germany were added to each side of the structure. The clocks used to need to be wound up once a week and would mark the hour by chiming although in later years the chimes would eventually stop functioning and the clock would remain silent. In 1990 the original clocks were replaced with electric powered ones while the Tower itself was once again renovated and painted.

Prior to it being converted to a clock tower, a building was built in front of it obstructing its view. Following the request of Anzali citizens this situation was finally rectified with the demolition of the building in 2003. According to the Cultural Heritage experts in the Gilan province, restoration plans are to be carried out in the Tower and until then the municipality of Anzali Port will be responsible for the maintenance of the Tower.

In 1977 the Anazli Tower was registered as one of Gilan’s national heritage sites.

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