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Prague’s impressive astronomical clock

The famous astronomical clock is located on the facade of city hall, and is one of Prague’s most celebrated sites. In addition to telling the time, the clock indicates the position of the moon and stars. At the top of the hour the windows open to show figures of the twelve apostles and the square fills with people wishing to see this unique event.

Prague’s splendid astronomical clock was created by Mikuláš, and is one of the oldest, most detailed timepieces ever made. The masterpiece was installed in 1410 and reconstructed in 1490 by another clockmaster called Hanuš. It consists of three main components; the first is an astronomical clock face that indicates the time and the position of the moon and stars. The second element is the Parade of the Apostles which is shown every hour. The third segment is a clock face with medallions that represent the months.

Moving figures

astronomical clock close-up

The mechanism comes to life on every hour between 8.00 and 20.00. In addition to the mechanical movement of the apostles, the clock shows other moving figures on the outside that represent the things which most appalled Prague residents at the time: Greed, vanity and death. The mechanism that measures the time has been repaired and revised many times since the sixteenth century, although most parts have remained the same since the last major overhaul in 1865.

Different times

The astronomical clock in Prague indicates different times, including astronomical time, Central European time, Old Czech time and Babylonian time. It is the only clock in the world to indicate the latter. Of course, this attraction in Prague also comes with a legend. It is said that, after finishing his work, the members of city council ordered when Hanuš blinded in order to stop him making another (better) masterpiece elsewhere.

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