Old Town Hall with Astronomical Clock

King John of Bohemia allowed the Old Town to build a town hall in 1338. The house of Wolflin of Kamen from the end of the 13th century became a core of the new complex. It is the nearest house to the clock tower. Look at its beautifully decorated gothic portal! Soon the construction of the clock tower began. The city grew, and the councils needed more premises. They bought neighboring houses and built new ones.

The photo of the bay window on the clock tower, Old Town Hall, Prague

The southern wing - the last addition to the hall's complex - was built in the 19th century. It was destroyed during the Prague Uprising at the end of World War II and was never rebuild. Today we can see a small park on its site. The construction of a 69.5-meter clock tower was finished in 1364. Do not miss the richly decorated bay window of the chapel located on the first floor of the tower. It is considered to be one of the most beautiful Prague monuments from the 14th century.

Another attraction on the tower is an astronomical clock or Orloj. The word "orloj" comes from the old-German word, which meant a sophisticated clock on the towers. Such clocks showed not only the time but also the position of some celestial bodies over the place where they were. There are only two astronomical clocks preserved in the Czech Republic: one at the Old Town Hall, the second at the town hall in Olomouc.

Prague astronomical clock was created in 1410. Jan Sindel, a master of the University of Prague, and Mikulas of Kadan worked on it. During the Hussite Wars, the clock was severely damaged and repaired later by master Hanus of Ruze.

The photo of the Astronomical Clock and the Calendar on the Prague Old Town Hall

During its centuries-old history, the astronomical clock stopped several times and had to be repaired. However, the fact that more than 2/3 of the parts have been working without replacement for more than 600 years is quite impressive!

The photo of the Sceleton and the Turk on the clock tower, Old Town Hall, Prague

The place where all the hands of the clock converge marks the position of the city of Prague on the globe. The yellow ball on the yellow arrow is the sun (in the 15th century people believed that the sun moves around the earth, not the other way around). The black ball on the black arrow is the moon. We also see a circle with symbolic images of zodiac signs. The gilded lines on the dial represent astronomical time, the Tropic of Cancer, and the Tropic of Capricorn. The multicolored parts represent Day, Night, Dawn, and Dusk.

At the lower part of the tower, we can also see a calendar. The original, made by master Janus, was not preserved. What we see today is the work of the Czech artist Josef Manes from the 19th century.

In the center of the calendar desk is the coat of arms of the city of Prague - three towers and an open gate. There are twelve circles with zodiac signs and twelve circles with pictures from rural life, symbolizing the year's months. At the very edge, there is a white field with 365 lines - one for each day of the year. A small gilded arrow on top shows the day and month of the year. At midnight, the circle with the calendar rotates into one division.

The photo of tourists waiting for a procession of the apostles, Old Town Hall, Prague

The figurines we see on the left and right of the dial have symbolic meaning. A figure with a mirror is Vanity. A man with a pouch is Miserliness. Skeleton symbolizes death. Turk with a lute - earthly pleasures. Immovable wooden figures are also installed on the level of the calender: Philosopher, Archangel Michael, Astronomer, Chronicler.

The photo of St.Paul with a book, procession of apostles, Old Town Hall, Prague

Every hour a procession of the apostles take place on the tower. The skeleton rings the bell. Blue windows open, and twelve apostles appear. Each of them can be recognized by his attribute: St. Peter with a key, St. Matthew with an axe, St. Thomas with a spear, and so on.

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