Why do we have different time zones?


The time difference between continents and sometimes even within the same country creates many inconveniences. Trying to call business partners or customers from another continent, we suddenly discover that their working day has already ended. The best way to avoid time zone issue is always to check a local time on one of internet time sites that provide accurate world time, such as WorldClock. These sites are the perfect point of reference for travellers and business people alike.

However, time zone division is a forced measure that allows us to synchronize time in different points of the globe in such a way that the administrative time zone coincides with the geographic time zone.

The economic aspect also plays an important role. The orderly division into time zones allowed for more efficient use of natural sunlight during the working day, reducing energy consumption.

It is also important to reconcile hourly data between different transport departments. Aviation, railway, sea, river transport are forced to coordinate routes according to uniform time parameters. This makes it possible to avoid collisions on routes, allows vehicles to arrive at the desired point without delay.

Compliance with temporary delimitations ensures financial stability not only for an individual transport company but also for the growth of the economy of entire states. The lack of consistency will lead to the complete destabilization of transport logistics around the world.

How did local time appear?

The need for a local time was recognized already in the 1800s. Great Britain made the first steps in this direction. The 1840th was marked by the introduction of London-time stations on the Great Western Railway. Then other highways were switched to it, after a few years this system was introduced among the population. After 15 years, almost the whole country lived according to London time, later called Greenwich.

In the United States, the introduction of new temporary rules is also associated with railways. But they appeared later – in 1883. A year later, the International Meridian Conference was held in Washington. The result was the adoption of official permission to divide the planet into time zones, choosing the Greenwich meridian as zero.

The geographic time zone began to be called a conditional strip running from the North Pole to the South Pole, 15 degrees wide. The total number of bands is 24, according to the number of hours in a day. The difference between adjacent belts is 1 hour. Naturally, the time of each zone is as close as possible to the solar one.

For the convenience of the inhabitants of the countries, administrative zones were created corresponding to the territorial boundaries, in order to avoid situations when in one part of the country it is 15.00, in another – already 16.00, despite the fact that the territory is compact in size.

Initially, it may seem that all this is complicated. In fact, dealing with time is very simple. Especially with the help of modern clocks showing the time in different parts of the world (watches with GMT function). The presence of a second-time zone in the watch makes it easy to navigate the time when flying long distances, it is easy to track the time of your overseas partners.

12 interesting facts about time zones

  1. The 180th meridian in the Pacific Ocean is a kind of “time machine”. If you cross the “dateline” from east to west, the time will move one day ahead. If you cross the line in the opposite direction, you will find yourself “in yesterday”.
  2. The small village of Rayakoski is located at the intersection of the borders of Russia, Norway and Finland. Therefore, 3 time zones intersect in the village at once.
  3. Many believe that the Japanese are the first to meet the dawn of a new day. But this is not the case. In Vladivostok, GMT morning comes one hour earlier than in the Japanese capital.
  4. Crossing the mountain range (about 1,000 km) in the Himalayas, the arrows will have to be translated as many as 6 times: on the Indo-Nepalese border – 15 minutes ahead, on the Nepal-Indian – 15 minutes ago, on the Indo-Chinese – 2.5 hours forward, in Sino-Bhutan – 2 hours ago, in Bhutan-Indian – half an hour ago, and in Indo-Myanmar – an hour ahead.
  5. When crossing the border between China and Afghanistan, the clock will have to be shifted to 3.5 hours. There is no other place in the world where one step takes so long.
  6. The distance between the islands of Ratmanov (Russia) and Kruzenshtern (USA) is only 4 km by sea, but they are separated by 21 hours according to Greenwich Mean Time: if on Ratmanov Island, for example, it is Friday noon, then on Kruzenshtern Island it is three in the afternoon on Thursday.
  7. India and England have a time difference of 5.5 hours. Therefore, to find out what time it is in India, the British just need to turn the watch upside down.
  8. From west to east, the length of China is 5,700 km, so it is not strange that the country is located in 5 time zones at once. But China lives in Beijing times.
  9. Between Nepal and India, the time zone difference is 15 minutes. This difference arose after Nepal “separated” from India. To show their independence, the inhabitants of Nepal first moved the clock 10 minutes ahead, and in 1986 they “added” another 5 minutes.
  10. At the North and South Poles, all meridians converge to a point, and they cannot be attributed to any time zone. Therefore, it is generally accepted that universal time (GMT) is in effect there. However, at the American Antarctic station Amundsen-Scott, located exactly at the South Pole, the time of New Zealand operates, because it is from there that flights to the station are carried out.
  11. The hour meridian runs along the Ob River in Novosibirsk. Therefore, at the beginning of the twenties of the last century, the inhabitants on the right and left banks of the river counted the time differently. On one bank, the difference with Moscow time was 3 hours, and on the other four.
  12. I call the bridges across the IK river the longest. This is due to the fact that in Tatarstan Moscow time, and in neighbouring Bashkiria it is two hours long. The Ik River flows in the border zone between the republics.