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The German Templer community in Israel, known as Sarona, is known for its unique architecture, and the efforts to preserve these buildings and this culture have led to the preservation of a uniquely European clock face from the region.
Built into the facade of the central community building in Sarona, the decorative carillon clock hearkens to the community’s European roots. While there were at one time a number of clocktowers across Israel, the Sarona clock was placed in a central position in the community like a number of similar clocks all across structures in Germany and the UK. The timepiece was central to the area’s daily life in the time before personal watches and clocks were ubiquitous. Over the decades, the clock stopped working and no one seemed too concerned about its restoration.
The building and its clock were finished in 1871 but as the area changed and the surrounding city of Tel Aviv grew, the structures erected by the Sarona community had to be moved and restored. It was during such a restoration in 2005 that workers discovered the clock’s old iron mechanism. The clockworks were given over to one of the only remaining clock repairmen in Israel who was more than happy to restore such a unique piece. After discovering the name of the original craftsmen etched into the gears, the restorers were able to contact the German company (which was miraculously still in business), and they donated a brand new modern clock for the building.
The original Sarona Templer Clock is now on display in the Sarona Museum, accessible via the visitor’s center.