Bolivian Congress Building gets Backwards Clock

The original clock on the Bolivian Congress Building in Plaza Murillo has been replaced with a reversed clock dubbed the “Clock of the South”.

The Clock of the South is a mirror image of a traditional clock: its numbers are flipped and its hands move in a counter-clockwise direction (though it is clockwise relative to the Clock of the South, of course).

The clock is intended to become symbol of the Southern Hemisphere, mirroring the natural motion of the shadow on a sundial which moves anti-clockwise in much of the Southern Hemisphere. It has been pointed out, however, that in the tropics where La Paz lies, the shadow on a sundial will move in an anti-clockwise motion for much of the year, but for several months will actually move in a clockwise direction as the sun passes to South of La Paz in the Southern Hemisphere’s summer months.

A backwards-running clock is perhaps a fitting symbol for the Bolivian people whose two main indigenous groups, the Aymarans (of whom current president Evo Morales is one) and the Quechuans, as the two groups are unique in the world in viewing the past as in front of them and the future behind them. The Clock of the South is not without its critics, however, including Morales’s main contender in the upcoming Bolivian elections, Samuel Doria Medina who reportedly claimed the modified clock was a sign “that things were regressing”.

The Bolivian Government is said to be considering modifying all clocks on Government-owned businesses.

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