Clocktower - Varna

An 89-year-old craftsman is taking care of the town symbol - the clock in front of the Cathedral. The clock is mounted on a 24-meter tower. It has been measuring the time for 127 years due to three people, who have maintained it through the years. The last one is Boyan Nikolov. He has been maintaining the town clock since he was a 14-year-old boy, apprenticing to the famous watchmaker Ivan Otonov. Otonov inherited the tower key from his father Oton Ivanov, whose memory is honored by a plaque upon the stone tower. The tower was built in 1889 when Krastyo Mirski was the mayor of the town. It was initially used by the fire brigade, giving the firemen the opportunity to see the entire town from its top. Oton Ivanov delivered the clock from England and mounted it on the top of the tower, so his fellow citizens could be aware of the time. As gratitude, the town officials gave him a shed next to the tower, where he opened his workshop. The famous revolutionary maintained the mechanism until his death in 1934. Then his son Ivan Otonov inherited the business and the key for the tower. Boyan Nikolov’s mother heard that Otonov was looking for an apprentice and sent her son to learn from him. Boyan Nikolov saw the whole town passing around, while he grew up at the workshop. He saw the chained arrested men walking between the Courthouse and the Police Station, which used to be right opposite the clock tower. Boyan saw the tanks flooding the town center on September 9th 1944. While he was learning how to fix watches, he used to hear the People’s Court sessions in the nearby Yunashki Saloon. He was not the only apprentice, there were five of them. Boyan was the youngest, but the hardest worker. He was good with the watches; the master liked him, trained him to maintain the tower clock and finally gave him the key. “There are no more real watchmakers that can cope with the mechanisms, because the electronics changed everything” says Boyan. It is hard for him to find a successor. He used to train two young men, but as many others, they went abroad. Now the master hopes to pass his knowledge and the tower key to his grandson Hristiyan. But Boyan is not sure if his grandson will be willing to take it, because the job is not profitable, though very responsible. Twice a week, in rain and sun, the clock needs regulation, because it runs a little too fast. Boyan climbs the 80 narrow stairs to the top of the tower to regulate the clock. The work is not easy, because the clock is moved not by springs, but weights that hang in the middle of the tower. In order to put them in motion, so that the bell would toll every hour, Boyan spins the starting handle 58 times each time he climbs to the top. He is used to this regular work out, although it could be dangerous sometimes. Like that time when one of the weights fell down from the top and made a hole in the tower’s anteroom. “If only a part of the mechanism broke, it could easily kill me”, Boyan says. He is convinced that there is still life left in the old town clock if it is taken good care of, with love and respect. The clock is unique and surprisingly there is no name of the manufacturer written on it, regardless of the tradition. It was long believed the clock was produced in Germany, but few months ago Boyan found out that it was actually made in a workshop in a small town on the France- Switzerland border. 14 people worked to make the mechanism, which still shows the exact time to the citizens of Varna. Through its long service the clock has stopped only several times. That usually happens when it is snowing, because the snow piles up and keeps the hands from moving. When such thing happened 11 years ago, Boyan was at the hospital, but as soon as he learned about the accident, he left the hospital bed and urged to the tower. In May 2014 the mechanism stopped after an earthquake with an epicenter in the Mediterranean. Until 1998 Boyan maintained the clock without being paid for it. After that the Municipality gave him a small salary. “This clock is mine, master Otonov left it to me and as long as I can walk, I will take care of the clock” says Boyan.

бул. „Христо Ботев“ 1910
43.2044795
27.908905799999957

Clocktower - Varna

An 89-year-old craftsman is taking care of the town symbol - the clock in front of the Cathedral. The clock is mounted on a 24-meter tower. It has been measuring the time for 127 years due to three people, who have maintained it through the years. The last one is Boyan Nikolov. He has been maintaining the town clock since he was a 14-year-old boy, apprenticing to the famous watchmaker Ivan Otonov. Otonov inherited the tower key from his father Oton Ivanov, whose memory is honored by a plaque upon the stone tower. The tower was built in 1889 when Krastyo Mirski was the mayor of the town. It was initially used by the fire brigade, giving the firemen the opportunity to see the entire town from its top. Oton Ivanov delivered the clock from England and mounted it on the top of the tower, so his fellow citizens could be aware of the time. As gratitude, the town officials gave him a shed next to the tower, where he opened his workshop. The famous revolutionary maintained the mechanism until his death in 1934. Then his son Ivan Otonov inherited the business and the key for the tower. Boyan Nikolov’s mother heard that Otonov was looking for an apprentice and sent her son to learn from him. Boyan Nikolov saw the whole town passing around, while he grew up at the workshop. He saw the chained arrested men walking between the Courthouse and the Police Station, which used to be right opposite the clock tower. Boyan saw the tanks flooding the town center on September 9th 1944. While he was learning how to fix watches, he used to hear the People’s Court sessions in the nearby Yunashki Saloon. He was not the only apprentice, there were five of them. Boyan was the youngest, but the hardest worker. He was good with the watches; the master liked him, trained him to maintain the tower clock and finally gave him the key. “There are no more real watchmakers that can cope with the mechanisms, because the electronics changed everything” says Boyan. It is hard for him to find a successor. He used to train two young men, but as many others, they went abroad. Now the master hopes to pass his knowledge and the tower key to his grandson Hristiyan. But Boyan is not sure if his grandson will be willing to take it, because the job is not profitable, though very responsible. Twice a week, in rain and sun, the clock needs regulation, because it runs a little too fast. Boyan climbs the 80 narrow stairs to the top of the tower to regulate the clock. The work is not easy, because the clock is moved not by springs, but weights that hang in the middle of the tower. In order to put them in motion, so that the bell would toll every hour, Boyan spins the starting handle 58 times each time he climbs to the top. He is used to this regular work out, although it could be dangerous sometimes. Like that time when one of the weights fell down from the top and made a hole in the tower’s anteroom. “If only a part of the mechanism broke, it could easily kill me”, Boyan says. He is convinced that there is still life left in the old town clock if it is taken good care of, with love and respect. The clock is unique and surprisingly there is no name of the manufacturer written on it, regardless of the tradition. It was long believed the clock was produced in Germany, but few months ago Boyan found out that it was actually made in a workshop in a small town on the France- Switzerland border. 14 people worked to make the mechanism, which still shows the exact time to the citizens of Varna. Through its long service the clock has stopped only several times. That usually happens when it is snowing, because the snow piles up and keeps the hands from moving. When such thing happened 11 years ago, Boyan was at the hospital, but as soon as he learned about the accident, he left the hospital bed and urged to the tower. In May 2014 the mechanism stopped after an earthquake with an epicenter in the Mediterranean. Until 1998 Boyan maintained the clock without being paid for it. After that the Municipality gave him a small salary. “This clock is mine, master Otonov left it to me and as long as I can walk, I will take care of the clock” says Boyan.

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