The Obertorturm is considered the most important tower of the medieval town fortifications of Rheinfelden. Strangely, its tower clock does not strike on the hour.
Fortified tower of the town fortifications.
Rheinfelden is not only worth seeing, but also worth hearing. The Obertor is one of them. The tower clock bell chimes the approaching full hour - for example 12 noon - although it is only 11.53 a.m. and the hands indicate this correctly. But this is no fault of the clockmaker. The bell strikes too early on purpose.
It is said that this was once introduced as a service for the farmers who worked in the fields outside the city walls. In the evening, the city gates were locked, and anyone who had not arrived inside the city by the time the gates closed had to spend the night outside.
This is where the proverbial «gate closing panic» came from: it attacked those who were a little late on their journey in the evening and could not be sure whether they would still be able to save themselves within the protection of the city walls. The peasants of Rheinfelden were to be spared this fate: When the bell rang to close the gate, they still had seven minutes to hurry home from the field.