In many countries, Kilometre Zero (also written km 0) or similar terms in other languages (also known as zero mile marker, control stations or control points) is a particular location (often in the nation's capital city), from which distances are traditionally measured. They were markers where drivers could set their odometers to follow directions in early guide books.
A similar notion also exists for individual roads (that is, all locations on the road have a number, depending on their distance from that location), and for individual cities (often the city's central post office is used for this).
Argentina marks Kilometre Zero with a monolith in Plaza Congreso in Buenos Aires. The work of the brothers Máximo and José Fioravanti, the structure was placed on the north side of Plaza Lorea on October 2, 1935; it was moved to its present location on May 18, 1944. An image of Our Lady of Luján (honored on the monolith as "the patron saint of the national road network") appears on the monolith's north face, a relief map of Argentina is on the south face, plaques in honor of José de San Martín are west, and on its eastern side, the date of the decree and the name of the relevant authorities.
Highways in Australia are usually built and maintained by the states and territories. In the state of New South Wales, highway distances (mileages) were traditionally measured from a sandstone obelisk in Macquarie Place in Sydney, designed by Francis Greenway in 1818. The obelisk lists the distances to various locations in New South Wales at the time. For the railway, it is located at platform 1 of Sydney Central Station.
The Byzantine Empire had an arched building, the Milion of Constantinople, as the starting-place for the measurement of distances for all the roads leading to the other cities. In the 1960s, some fragments were discovered and erected in its original location, now in the district of Eminönü, Istanbul, Turkey.
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Chile's Autopista Central – Eje Norte-Sur (the eastern segment of the Panamerican Highway that passes through Santiago) has its Kilometre Zero at the intersection with the Alameda del Libertador Bernardo O'Higgins, the capital's main avenue. (Coordinates: .)
China Railways' 0 km is located at the entrance to the Fengtai Yard on the Jingguang Line just outside Beijing. This point was historically the start of the line; the marker is a simple concrete marker, with "0" painted on it. There is no ceremonial plaque.
The kilometre zero point for highways is located at Tiananmen Square, just outside the Zhengyangmen Gate. It is marked with a plaque in the ground, with the four cardinal points, four animals, and "Zero Point of Highways, China" in English and Chinese.
Cuba's Kilometre Zero is located in its capital Havana in El Capitolio. Embedded in the floor in the centre of the main hall is a replica 25 carat (5 g) diamond, which marks Kilometre Zero for Cuba. The original diamond, said to have belonged to Tsar Nicholas II of Russia and have been sold to the Cuban state by a Turkish merchant, was stolen on 25 March 1946 and mysteriously returned to the President, Ramón Grau San Martín, on 2 June 1946. It was replaced in El Capitolio by a replica in 1973.
Copenhagen Town hall square is the zero point.
Kilometre Zero in Ethiopia is in Menelik Square, Addis Abeba, in front of St. George's Cathedral; it is the point from which all Ethiopian highway distances are measured. The point was designated by Emperor Haile Selassie in 1930.
Initially the origin point of all Prussian roads leading to and from Berlin was at Dönhoff-Platz in the city centre (1730–1875); in 1975 a reconstructed milestone was placed in front of the Spittel-Kolonnaden at Marion-Gräfin-Dönhoff-Platz.
In ancient Greece, distances were measured from the altar of twelve gods, located in the ancient agora of Athens. So, that altar can be considered the first kilometre zero in human history.
Nowadays, the kilometre zero for Greek highways is located in Syntagma square, the major square of Athens.
The Zero Kilometre in Budapest is marked by a monument, forming the number "zero". The starting point was initially reckoned from the threshold of the Buda Royal Palace, but it was taken down to the Széchenyi Chain Bridge when it was built in 1849.
The city of Kecskemét also has a Zero Kilometre Stone on Kossuth Square.
In India, Zero milestone is a monument in the city of Nagpur, Maharashtra. The Zero milestone was erected by the British Raj. The Zero Mile Stone consists of four horses and a pillar made up of sandstone. There is no verifiable evidence that it is a monument locating the geographical centre of colonial India in the city of Nagpur, Maharashtra, or that the Zero Mile Stone was erected by the British to use this point to measure all the distances.
The Kilometre Zero of Japan (日本国道路元標 Nipponkoku Dōro Genpyō) is on the middle of Nihonbashi bridge in Tokyo. Tokyo Station is considered the originating point of the national railway network and has several posts and monuments indicating 0 km of lines originating from the station.
The Kilometre Zero for the major roads radiating from Antananarivo is located on the square in front of the Soarano Railway Station.
The Kilometre Zero for roads and highways in Peninsular Malaysia is located at Johor Bahru General Post Office. It is one of the rare cases where the national kilometre zero is not located at the national capital, due to the fact that the distances for three major backbone routes (Federal Routes 1, 3 and 5) are measured from Johor Bahru, where the three routes meet and connect to Singapore via the Johor–Singapore Causeway.
The Kilometre Zero is located in Oslo at the address Observatoriegaten 1.
Warsaw, the capital of Poland, has a meeting point featuring plaques with distances from it to other major cities of the country. It is placed on the intersection of the city's two main avenues, Aleje Jerozolimskie and Marszałkowska Street, next to the Centrum Warsaw Metro station.
The bronze plaque marking Russia's Kilometre Zero is located in Moscow, just in front of the Iberian Chapel, in a short passage connecting Red Square with Manege Square and flanked by the State Historical Museum and the City Duma.
Seoul, the capital city of South Korea, has its 'Doro Wonpyo' (Korean: 도로원표) in the centre of Gwanghwamun Intersection to measure all distance of both national and regional roads. The initial statue, made by Seoul Metropolitan City to commemorate in 1997, is located in front of Donghwa Duty-free shop building (near Gwanghwamun Station), 151 m far from its exact point.
Spain has its Kilometre Zero in the centre of the Puerta del Sol in Madrid (incidentally, the clock of the old Royal House of the Post Office, in front of which the plaque is located, marks the official time in Spain, according to the urban legend). The plaque that marks this point was turned around 180 degrees by mistake in 2002 during a reform of the square. The plaque was renewed in 2009, during the roadworks of the Puerta del Sol square, and this time placed in the right position.
In Sri Lanka, all distances from Colombo is measured in kilometers (formerly in miles) from the Fort Clock Tower near President's House. This practice began with the construction of the Colombo-Kandy road in 1830, which was the first modern highway in the island. Since then three major roads have been constructed from Colombo; A1 – Colombo-Kandy Road, A2 – Colombo-Wellawaya (CGHW) Road and A4 – Colombo-Batticaloa (CRWB) Road.
Switzerland's Kilometer Null is located in Olten. It was made in the 19th century to mark the point from where the Swiss railway system was measured. Because of the dimension of the Swiss railway system, it is no longer used.
The crossroad of Zhongxiao Road and Zhongshan Road (Taipei) in Zhongzheng District, Taipei is the start point of provincial highway No. 1, 1A (Traditional Chinese: 臺1甲), 3, 5 and 9. In 2012, by the Directorate General of Highways, MOTC, a traffic sign and a sidewalk inscription marking the location as Kilometer Zero were placed by the northeast side and by the southeast side of the intersection separately.
Thailand has two points that are declared as Kilometre Zero. The National Highway's Kilometre Zero is the Democracy Monument on Ratchadamnoen Avenue, and the Railway's Kilometre Zero is the Erawan Elephant Monument, in front of Bangkok Railway Station.
The term "Kilometre Zero" is not used in the United Kingdom. Most distances from London are measured in miles from Charing Cross. See also: London Stone, Hicks Hall, and St Mary-le-Bow, a church from which the distance of the original London to Lewes road is measured.
The metric system is not the common system in the United States, but mile markers for most major roads begin at either their western or southern terminus. The mile-marking systems are generally within individual states; the mile count starts over when a state boundary is crossed.
Pierre Charles L'Enfant, the original architect of Washington, D.C., proposed an otherwise unnamed reference marker in the form of a pole to be located one mile east of the Capitol that was never built.
Although not used for measurement on U.S. roads outside the city of Washington, D.C., a Zero Milestone near the White House was proposed in 1919 and a permanent marker placed in 1923 by the Federal government, funded by the Good Roads Movement.
In New York City, Columbus Circle, at the southwest corner of Central Park, is the traditional point from which all official distances are measured, although Google Maps uses New York City Hall for the purpose.
Also, a "Kilómetro Cero" has been established for the Uruguay River by the Treaty of Río Uruguay in 1961 on the parallel passing by the area called Punta Gorda in the Colonia Department, south of the city of Nueva Palmira.
The 2000 film Km. 0 was a romantic comedy set in Madrid.
Cuba's Kilometre Zero
Japan's Kilometre Zero
The statue of King Charles I (on horseback) marks the centre of London
Sabang is the capital city of Weh Island. Why not explore the town as well? You might want to take a picture of a sign bearing "Indonesia Nol Kilometer" (Zero Kilometer of Indonesia).