Though its exterior dates from 1771, the internal walls of Bern's first western gate reach back to the 12th century and represent the city's core. The calendar clock on the Kramgasse side began keeping Bern's official time in 1530; the gilded rooster to the left of the mechanical figures crows four minutes before every hour to begin the sequence of marching bears, fools, and gilded knights who strike the bells. The astronomical clock to the rooster's right keeps track
of the day, the month, the zodiac, and the moon. Tours of the horological masterpiece behind it all are conducted in English.
Jun 14, 2003
I arrived just before the 11:56 "performance" - yes it is not on the hour, but four minutes prior. The clock began to move. A small figure turned his head from side to side and a few other small parts moved slightly. Then it was done. I heard many people commenting in various languages. But ut was clear what they all were saying - Was that it????? I did speak to a German woman who shared my reaction. Just to make sure I hadn't missed something,
I stopped back two hours later after some shopping and a visit to the Bear Pits. Same show. Same HUH??? That's it? It was actually amusing the second time to see the look on people's faces now that I knew what a disappointment it was. I had been warned that it was not worth seeing but still had to see it for myself. Sheesh.