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Ticking Away, Differently!

It is considered to be the norm to have 12 numbers on a clock. However, there is a clock in this world that is different from other clocks, as that clock has 11 numbers! One can find this strange clock in the northwestern Swiss city of Solothurn.

The clock stuns tourists who visit the Town Square at the centre of Solothurn. Solothurn’s 11-hour clock is made with 11 cogs and 11 bells. As the clock has 11 numbers, it never shows 12 o’clock. When its 11 cogs turn to chime its 11 bells, by courtesy of a harlequin dutifully striking a hammer at the random times of 11:00, 12:00, 17:00 and 18:00, the metalwork sculpture performs the city’s unofficial anthem, Solothurner Lied. Standing in front of the clock just outside the entrance to the baroque town of Solothurn, local resident Therese Stählin said: “At 12:00, we need to be at our 11-hour clock.” She stressed: “Eleven is the most auspicious time to meet in the city. It was equally important for us not to be late for midday.

Solothurn Clock

In fact, the city’s relationship with the number 11 is too intense. The number 11 is related to almost everything in Solothurn. The city has 11 museums, 11 churches, 11 towers, 11 fountains and much more. The Romans had founded the city 2,000 years ago, although it was not so popular at that period of time. As time goes by, the number 11 has coincidentally become associated with Solothurn. Eleven representatives were elected in 1215 when Council Elections were held in this Swiss city.


In 1481, Solothurn had become the 11th Canton of the Swiss Confederation. Eleven officials were appointed to take care of the city at that time. The St Ursus Cathedral or Solothurn Cathedral was built in the city, somewhat predictably, in 11 years in the early 15th Century. The Cathedral, popularly known as the Cathedral of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Basel in Solothurn, is a Swiss heritage site of national significance that has 11 altars, 11 doors, three flights of 11 stairs, 11 rows and 11 bells! Interestingly, 11 types of marbles were used to build the Cathedral.

The Cathedral of St Ursus

Everyone in Solothurn is aware of this story. However, no one can remember exactly how or why their hometown became so obsessed with the number 11. For many Solothurn inhabitants, 11 is a holy number. In numerology, 11 is considered the most intuitive of all numbers, commonly associated with faith and psychics. Visitors can easily find the weakness of Solothurn residents with the number 11 upon their arrival in the Swiss city.

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