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Prague’s Astronomical Clock

Medieval astrology turns tourist attraction – the Astronomical Clock in Old Prague Square certainly knows how to draw a crowd.  Daily, tourists marvel at the beauty of the clock and gather on the hour to watch the 15th century statues dance and hear the cock crow at the Old Town Hall.

Old Town Hall Astronomical Clock face, Prague

First installed in 1410, the Prague Astrological Clock is the oldest working astrological clock of its kind.  Made of 3 main sections, (1) the astronomical dial represents the position of the sun and moon, displaying astrological details, (2) the “Walk of the Apostles” shows figures of the apostles and a figure of death striking time and (3) the Calendar Dial, added in 1490, is made with 12 medallions – the signs of the zodiac, added by Josef Manes in 1865 – to represent the months.  The moving statues and apostles, big crowd pleasers, were added in the 17th century after major repair in 1865 – 1866.

Prague's Astronomical Clock

Astronomical Dial, explained by Wikipedia

It becomes difficult to move in front of Old Town Square as the crowds in front of the tower crane their necks and point their cameras upward, anxiously waiting the procession of the Twelve Apostles: on the hour, every hour, as small trap door opens and Christ marches out ahead of his disciples, while the skeleton of death tolls the bell to a defiant statue of a Turk.

Old Town Hall - Prague Clock Tower

The Old Town Hall Tower, built in 1338, is quite. Inside is a narrow spiral staircase and an elevator to a viewing platform, offering terrific views over the Old Town Square and the rest of the Old Town.  The climb to the top is well worth the view – as you take in the stunning beauty of Prague.

It is no wonder the city is known as the city of a 1,000 spires – from the tower vantage point – look around and see for yourself as the red roof and cathedral spires are laid out in front of you.

We only ventured up to the top of the clock tower in the day – I can only imagine how gorgeous the views of the city would be at dusk as the lights come on to showcase Prague’s many cathedrals and architectural wonders…..perhaps a destination for the next visit to one of Europe’s most romantic cities!

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About Anita Mac

The bucket list just keeps growing! The more I cross off - the more exciting new destinations and activities I find! I have been fortunate enough to travel a considerable distance over the years. My love of many things, including travel, cycling, kayaking and photography fit together like hand and glove. I have to keep asking myself....where to next? I am happy to share my travels and photography through my blogs: http://traveldestinationbucketlist.com and http://anitamacphotos.wordpress.com Hope you enjoy them as much as I do! On to the next adventure!


20 thoughts on “Prague’s Astronomical Clock

  1. I visited Prague one very cold February with a very unsuitable suitcase full of clothes….spent most of the time saying things like its frrrrrreezing…..fack….. i can’t feel my face…..and checking i still had my fingers and toes but i loved it… Still one of my favourite cities 🙂

    Posted by emeralds82 | June 6, 2012, 6:16 pm
    • I know what you are saying – it was so windy when we went up the clock tower – my fingers had a hard time operating the camera – but it was still worth it! The view was incredible. I couldn’t agree more – Prague is one of my favourite cities too.

      Posted by Anita Mac | June 7, 2012, 8:35 am
  2. Cool – thanks for sharing – great photos! Have a Great Day:)

    Posted by cravesadventure | June 6, 2012, 6:38 pm
  3. What a fascinating clock representative of a fascinating subject. I’ve always been interested in astrology, though admittedly, the subject is too complicated for me to understand fully. I am a novice. I know enough to know that each sign represents a magnetic field of the universe, and that these fields are not all equal in size. It amazes me that men have possessed knowledge of the subject for so many hundreds (thousands ?) of years, especially without the aid of the technology that we have at our fingertips today. The clock is in amazing condition, given its age. No wonder people flock to see it. Which leads me to say ‘thank you’ for sharing with those of us who may never have the opportunity to see it first hand.

    From what I’ve seen of the rest of the city, Prague looks like it would be a wonderful place to see. Given the age of some of the buildings, I’m sure the town is seeped in history, and it would no doubt take several days just to see the major attractions and obtain a brief overview of the city’s history.

    I suspect you’re right about seeing the sights at dusk, as well, Anita. I imagine the city at night would be a wonder to behold. Again a beautiful share … thank you once again. 🙂

    Posted by orples | June 6, 2012, 7:47 pm
    • It is pretty cool. I found pages and pages of information about the clock and its history – it is quite fascinating. The fact that they were able to create something so amazing, like you said – is impressive. It is like Machu Picchu and the Incas – incredible what they built all those years ago, and how they have stood the test of time.

      Posted by Anita Mac | June 7, 2012, 8:38 am
  4. Prague is one of my favorite cities too, Anita. I’ve been there many times but have never ascended the tower – you’ve encouraged me to do so next time!

    Posted by Tricia A. Mitchell | June 7, 2012, 2:31 pm
  5. I, too, remember clearly being one of the crowd waiting patiently for the clock to strike. Time well spent!

    Posted by Frank Burns | June 7, 2012, 6:00 pm
  6. Beautiful photos! I have always wanted to go to Prague and I expect that I would stand watching the Astronomical Clock for as long as my kids would let me! I had no idea that the clock tower could be climbed – would love to look out over the city from that vantage point.

    Posted by Lisa Goodmurphy | June 8, 2012, 7:52 pm
  7. In recent visits, I’ve gone and stood below the clock, and watched people watching the clock. Fascinating stuff! 🙂

    Posted by fotoeins | June 9, 2012, 9:32 pm


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