The Sahat-Kula clock tower rises above the red rooftops of Sarajevo.
The alleys of Sarajevo’s old city, once an Ottoman-era central market, are crammed with vendors plying their ancestral trades. Mensur Zlatar, whose surname means goldsmith, has a miniscule shop tucked next to the grand Gazi Husrev-beg mosque, named for the Ottoman high-ranking officer who developed the metropolis in the 16th century. Across the street, a clock tower with unusual symbols covering its face rises above the city.
Most days Zlatar can be found mending broken jewelry and watches beneath a faint pillar of cigarette smoke. But the 71-year-old has a second life. For half a century, he has been the keeper of Sarajevo’s prayer time, a posting with the title muvekit. Twice a week since 1967, Zlatar has climbed the 76-step tower of Sahat-Kula, thought to be the world’s only public lunar clock, to set the time.