Old-Town Hall & Astronomical Clock, Prague
Every single tourist in visit of Prague see Old Town Hall and Astronomical Clock, most of them see every-hour-"play" (Procession of Apostles, Death ringing the bell…) and quite a lot enjoy a view of Old-Town Square (Staromestske namesti) from the top of the Old Town Hall Tower. Having that on mind, we were quite surprised starting a guided tour of Old Town Hall with just two more couples.
The tour starts just after the Procession of Apostles and it is opportunity to see it from the back side, which is amazing, especially because it is accompanied with the noise of the crowd watching it in "regular" way. Than it continues with visit to the oldest parts of the building – the tower and the Gothic chapel of St Lawrence, built in 1381 (chapel faces Old-Town Square). It is followed by the visit to the ancient council chamber from the late 15th and early 16th century – the time of reign of King Vladislav – Vladislaus II of Bohemia and Hungary, and the modern hall which is now used for the meetings of the town council and which is decorated with two paintings made by the Bohemian artist Vaclav or Wenceslaus Brozik – "Jan Hus Before the Council of Constance", and "The Election of George of Podebrad as King of Bohemia". The longest, but very interesting part of the tour is walk through Romanesque and Gothic cellars. The tour ends in entrance hall decorated with the two early 20th century mosaics presenting the scenes from the life of Libuse, mythical ancestor of the Premyslid dynasty and the Czech people as whole.
The guide, young man, was excellent – he made a kind of journey through Czech history while explaining what we had seen during the tour. It was very nice of him to try to learn a few words of Italian, Hungarian and Serbian language. In general – the tour was the great experience.
The astronomical clock in Old Town Square has kept its time for over 6 centuries and continues to work till this very day. The clock shows three individual sets of data. It shows the revolutions of the Sun, the revolutions of the moon, and the revolutions of the stars. The clock is divided into red and blue halves representing day and night. It's quite an amazing thing to see, considering the relatively low technology they had in those times...Loads of tourists flock to see the clock in action to strike the hour...The Procession of Apostles delights the crowd as they one by one pass by the small doors at the top of the wonderful clock. It is said that they made the creator of the clock go blind so that he would not produce another one ever again!
This is not off the beaten path it is a must see.
This is a beautiful building and you can also climb the town hall for great view (I think it is 40 Kc) and the clock is very beautiful.
Although it is a very touristic place and you see it for 5 minutes only it is a must.
Is this astronomical clock.."of the beaten path?" No!
But in the area of Old Town, few small streats from the clock, find the Sex Museum.
Is colourful (specialy in red) good for 1 hour visit, and helpful for imagination.
Be sure for your partner on this visit.
The astronomical clock is neat but what's even cooler is sitting at a cafe across from it and watching everyone wait for it to perform every hour. The reactions of the crowd are fun. My favorite character on the clock is the skeleton. Old Town Hall and the Center of Prague is very beautiful, as is basically the whole country. There is good shopping. Also, there are people there that will offer you information on orchestral performances that you can see. We took up an offer on one that included a show (Vivaldi's music) and dinner.
There is a building across from the clock that has this statue on it. If you look directly opposite of the tower you'll see it. There are all kinds of interesting statues, coat of arms, and engravings on buildings throughout Prague.
A crowd wait every hour for the show: The skeleton, representing the Death gives a pull on the rope that hi hold in his right hand, and in his left hand the hourglass is inverted. Then two windows open and the Apostles move round.
There are other figures: The vanity looking himself in the mirror, A Jewish moneylender: greed, The turk: lust.
The astronomical clock had the purpose was to imitate the supposed orbits of the sun and moon about the earth.
The clock shows the movement of the sun and moon through the zodiacal signs.
Like in all other places of the world, bins are full of garbage. If you look careful at the picture, you can see how many bottles of alcohol have been consumed, they are all over the ground, because they don't fit inside the bins.
The four figures of this level represent what the people were being warned against in those times: Death is an obvious one, and the Turk represents the invaders whom many battles were fought against.
Just walking round Prague you find so many sights and buildings not mentioned in the guide books, cafes, churches.
The buidings are fabulous especially the Art Nouveau examples...
This is only a small example of the scultures on the buildings not only holding balconies, but windows, clocks ect...
This building in the Old Town Square, next to the Astronomical Clock, has greek scenes painted on it. On the lowest part, there are gift shops.
The old clock has so many interesting features. This is a more precise detail of the figures beneath the clock itself.