If London has its Big Ben, Vienna has its own version and it is called the Anchor Clock or Ankeruhr. Situated on Hoher Markt, Vienna’s oldest square, this clock is part of an Art Nouveau design and features mosaic ornaments.
Built between 1911 and 1917, the animated clock serves as a bridge between the two buildinga of the Anker Insurance Company. It measures 10 meters wide and 7.5 meters high with a diameter of 4 meters.
The clock has been a popular tourist attraction because it does not simply show the time. It features 12 historical figures that slowly move across the bridge in the course of 12 hours. These figures made of copper include the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius who died in Vienna, Karl de Grobe, Duke Leopold VI and his wife Theodora, Empress Maria Theresa, Emperor Maximilian I, Count Rudiger von Starhemberg, Meister Hans Puchsbaum, Mayor Johann Andreas von Liebenberg, Prince Eugen of Savoy, Joseph Haydn and medieval lyricist Walther von der Vogelweide. Each figure rotates at its own designated time.
At noontime every day, all the figures parade for about 12 minutes with music from various periods as accompaniment. This has been known as the Viennese high noon ritual and many people, especially tourists, flock to this place to view the display.
It was in the early 1900s when Der Anker insurance company bought the two buildings on Hoher Markt. To connect the two structures, the owners thought of creating something meaningful. They hired painter and sculptor Franz Matsch to build the clock that showcases slow entertainment throughout the day.