Prague Astronomical Clock

Prague, Czech Republic

The Prague astronomical clock was first installed in 1410, making it the third-oldest astronomical clock in the world and the oldest one still operating. It is mounted on the southern wall of Old Town Hall in the Old Town Square. The clock mechanism itself is composed of three main components: the astronomical dial, representing the position of the Sun and Moon in the sky and displaying various astronomical details; 'The Walk of the Apostles', a clockwork hourly show of figures of the Apostles and other moving sculptures—notably a figure of Death (represented by a skeleton) striking the time; and a calendar dial with medallions representing the months. According to local legend, the city will suffer if the clock is neglected and its good operation is placed in jeopardy and a ghost, mounted on the clock, was supposed to nod his head in confirmation. Based on the legend, the only hope was represented by a boy born in the New Year's night.

The oldest part of the Orloj, the mechanical clock and astronomical dial, dates back to 1410 when it was made by clockmaker Mikuláš of Kadaň and Jan Šindel, the latter a professor of mathematics and astronomy at Charles University. Later, presumably around 1490, the calendar dial was added and clock facade was decorated with gothic sculptures.

The clock stopped working many times in the centuries after 1552, and was repaired many times. In 1629 or 1659 wooden statues were added, and figures of the Apostles were added after major repair in 1787–1791. During the next major repair in years 1865–1866 the golden figure of a crowing rooster was added.

The clock suffered heavy damage on May 7 and especially May 8, 1945, during the Prague Uprising, when Germans set fire from several armoured vehicles and an anti-aircraft gun to the south-west side of the Old Town Square in an effort to silence the provocative broadcasting initiated by the National Committee on May 5. The hall and nearby buildings burned along with the wooden sculptures on the clock and the calendar dial face made by Josef Mánes. After significant effort, the machinery was repaired, the wooden Apostles restored by Vojtěch Sucharda, and the clock started working again in 1948.

The clock was last renovated in autumn 2005, when the statues and the lower calendar ring were restored.

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Founded: 1410
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4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Jan Knöbel (2 months ago)
The first time that I can say something "positive" about corona... it was my first time at Prague, that i was almost alone infront of the astronomical clock. Normally you share this place with hundreds or even more people, and fight for just a chance of an good image. But this time you could watch it as long and as easy as you want. And without the crowd infront of it, you get a much better impression, why it is one of the most well known sights of the city. It´s just astounding to watch.
Samuel Torres (3 months ago)
A place with so much history and mystery... obligatory stop in this city
Fatima isah (4 months ago)
Maybe alot of talk about the display made me expect some more spectacular so I was slightly disappointed with what I saw
Sikhumbuzo Ntsada (4 months ago)
The vibe is electric in this area, and at everyone it seems the clock has some nice supprises. It is worth waiting for the clock to show you something, I only saw it at 9pm, and I cannot spoil it for you, go and see it. We had dinner at one of the restaurants, I cannot remember the name, but the food was nice - servings were a bit small for my liking. A T-bone for 200 g is a bit small and really annoying.
Nithish Sirangi (5 months ago)
Beautiful to showcase, people and travellers make Curious to watch it, but I would say not that worth to. Though it has historical background and importance, apart from it the construction is good. I have climbed to see the inner construction. And, yet again not so excited. But I would appreciate for the organisers to make the hype always high on it. The Old town view from the top is must watch. Beautiful city and people. I love it ;)
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