Astronomical Clock, Prague

Astronomical Clock, Prague (must see)

The most famous and intriguing feature of the Old Town Hall since the 1400s, the Horologe (Astronomical Cock) is a marvel to behold. The sophistication of its form – the moving figures set in motion on the stroke of each hour by a complex mechanism, the astronomical and calendar dials – reveals the degree of scientific advancement of its creators.

The first version of the horologe was completed in 1410, followed by extensive reconstruction in 1490 by Jan Růže (aka Hanuš), the old town locksmith, who produced a timepiece based on the pendulum system. In 1552 the clock was repaired again.

In 1629 or 1659 wooden statues were installed, followed by the Apostles' figures added in 1787-1791. During another major repair, in 1865–1866, the golden figure of a crowing rooster emerged. The most recent repairs, after World War II, saw the badly damaged original statues replaced with copies. Still, despite the numerous repairs, the most fundamental features of the clock remain unchanged.

The clock face represents the Earth and the sky: one part for the day and the other for the night. The outer ring shows old Bohemian time, while the astronomical dial charts the movement of the Sun and planets around the Earth (which is, of course, positioned at the centre of the universe!). The third dial charts the movement of the Sun and the Moon through zodiacal signs. Around the edge, yet another pointer shows what day of the month and week it is, and, perhaps more importantly, what saint's day it is (and hence what holiday).

As the clock face is quite difficult to read, the greatest attraction for viewers is the hourly show of wooden statuettes (including Christ and the Twelve Apostles), appearing from mini-trapdoors and moving from left to right, while a suitably creepy skeletal figure signifying Death pulls a rope to the rhythm of the chimes.

One of the legends surrounding the clock is that its maker, Hanus, had his eyes pulled out so that he could never re-create his masterpiece. In revenge, he is said to have broken the clock which then took another 100 years to repair. Another legend says that if the clock stops for any length of time, Prague will fall.

Tip:
Climb or take elevator to the top of the clock tower to get a bird's eye view of the city.
Sight description based on wikipedia

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Astronomical Clock on Map

Sight Name: Astronomical Clock
Sight Location: Prague, Czech Republic (See walking tours in Prague)
Sight Type: Attraction/Landmark
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Prague, Czech Republic

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Create Your Own Walk in Prague

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New Town Walking Tour

New Town Walking Tour

The youngest (established 1348) and the largest (three times the size of the Old Town), the New Town (Nove Mesto) of Prague is one of the five originally independent townships that today form the historic center of the Czech capital. Steeped in history, the district is traditionally dense with tourists.

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Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
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Lesser Town Walking Tour

Lesser Town Walking Tour

Malá Strana ("Lesser Town") is a district of Prague, one of the most historically significant in the Czech capital. Back in the Middle Ages, it was predominantly populated by ethnic Germans and, in later years, largely retained its Germanic vibe despite prevalence of the Baroque style in architecture.

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Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.6 Km or 2.2 Miles
Jewish Quarter Walking Tour

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Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.1 Km or 0.7 Miles
Old Town Walking Tour

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The Old Town (Czech: Staré Město) is a medieval settlement of Prague, once separated from the outside by a semi-circular moat and wall, hugged by the Vltava river. The moat is now covered up by streets, which remain the official boundary of the cadastral district of Old Town. Notable places within the Old Town include Old Town Square, Astronomical Clock, Kinsky Palace and more. Take this...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.8 Km or 1.7 Miles
Prague Introduction Walking Tour

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Nicknamed “the City of a Hundred Spires,” Prague is home to a wealth of attractions, including more than ten major museums, numerous theatres, galleries, and plethora of historic sights.

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Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.2 Km or 2 Miles
Old Town Souvenir Shopping

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Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.1 Km or 1.3 Miles

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