Old-Town Hall, Prague

4.5 out of 5 stars 154 Reviews

Starometska radnice- Starometske namesti. 420 724 508 584

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  • Crowd gathering near the clock
    Crowd gathering near the clock
    by Jefie
  • Cloe-up view of the astronomical clock
    Cloe-up view of the astronomical clock
    by Jefie
  • Prague's Old Town Hall
    Prague's Old Town Hall
    by Jefie
  • sue_stone's Profile Photo

    Old Town Hall

    by sue_stone Written Dec 28, 2005

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    Dating back to 1338, the Old Town Hall is located in the heart of the Old Town Square. It was constructed from a complex of homes that were merged and have been rebuilt over the years.

    To find the entrance to the Hall, just look to the left of the large crowd of tourists waiting for the Astronomical Clock to chime.

    Inside the Town Hall are the Gothic Chapel and the Hall of Mayors of the City.

    But my favourite bit was a trip to the top of the 60 metre high tower, for fabulous views across the Old Town. There is an intriguingly designed elevator that whisks you up...so no energetic stair climbing required, giving wheel chair access to the top of the tower.

    Great views.

    view from the tower of the Town Hall the groovy elevator part of the Old Town Hall view from the tower of the Town Hall Alex on top of the tower of the Town Hall
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    Great views from the top of the Old Town Hall

    by CatherineReichardt Updated Jun 12, 2013

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    The views from the top of the Old Town Hall are wonderful and give you a lovely perspective on the fascinating 'roofscape' of the Old Town. From this vantage point, you realise how tightly packed the Old Town is, and what a teeming mass of humanity this must have been in the days when the Old Town was residential (don your thermals and try this just before Christmas when there is a Christmas market in the main square to see what I mean).

    This viewpoint also gives you a better view of the beautiful gothic Church of Our Lady before Tyn. Unfortunately the facade of this church has been obscured by later buildings which were constructed immediately in front of the church, and usually all you can see are the iconic towers rising above the surrounding buildings.

    To state the obvious, you will not be the only person wanting to see the Old Town from this perspective, and the spectacular views mean that most visitors linger to try and get the perfect panoramic photos. Thus, as ever, it helps to visit out of peak hours (usually earlier is better than later) and ideally out of peak season so that you aren't crowded out.

    View from the Old Town Hall, Prague View from the Old Town Hall, Prague View from the Old Town Hall, Prague View from the Old Town Hall, Prague

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    See 12 Apostles come out of Astronomical Clock

    by jumpingnorman Updated Feb 1, 2009

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    The first time I started walking around Prague, I looked for the Charles Bridge first and then I started looking for that Astronomical Clock, aka Staromestska Radnice, which I always see on pictures.

    The Astronomical Clock is located on the Old Town Hall building and it does attract tourists who want to watch the hourly show. But if you do come early in the morning as I did, I was practically the only one in front of the clock! However, for some reason, there were no 12 apostles that came out in procession from the clock at the time --- it must be only certain hours.

    The intricate clock was designed by Miklaus of Kadan in 1410. And near it is a chapel built in 1381 which actually has a basement which used to be a prison. So, I guess the prisoners could probably hear the clock every hour…that’s sad.

    But, the clock is really a “must-see” when going to Prague. If you want, you can even just sit on the café in front of it as I did and just watch the comings and goings of people from all over the world.

    Astronomical Clock, Prague Old Town Hall
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    Old Town Tower

    by littlesam1 Written May 28, 2004

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    I have read many resources that say the Old Town Tower dominates the Old Town Square in Prague. Although I do not agree completely with that statement, I do agree its one of the major sights to see. The tower has a 230 foot spire. The Astronomical Clock is attached to the side of the tower. The tower dates back to the 14th century although it was almost completely destroyed by Nazi fire during World War II.

    There is an observation area on top of the tower that allows you great views of Old Town Square and its crowds below. There is an admission price for the tower. The ticket office is on the third floor of the building connected to the tower. But that is the end of your climbing. There is an elevator to the top of the tower. So buy your ticket, grab your camera, and get ready for some great moments to remember.

    Old Town Tower

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    Prague Astronomical Clock

    by Kaspian Updated Feb 4, 2009

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    Hundreds of people are crowded around the giant clock--pushing, shoving, vying for a good spot to take a photo, and waiting with baited breath for for the clock to reach the top of the hour and begin its show. At 2:00 PM exactly, a small mechanical skeleton statue (representing Death) on the right side of the clock begins to frantically ring a bell. "Oh, man! That is so cool!" I say to myself and I begin to record video on my camera.
    Two small doors near the top of the clock slide open and little figures (statues of apostles) appear briefly, rotating to the dark openings one at a time. We all crane our necks and squint our eyes to see these barely visible 12 characters as they quickly pass by. The little doors close. The clock chimes the hour. The end.
    "What in the hell was that?! That's it?! That's what all the big fuss is about?" I have to admit that I'm slightly disappointed. I don't know what I expected--certainly not giant mechanical dinosaurs or anything too over the top, but there really wasn't very much to see here. And what there was to see could only have been properly viewed by standing exactly in front of the clock about 150 feet back while looking through a pair of binoculars. I think about it for a moment and then delete the video from my camera.
    The dials and symbols on the clock represent all kinds of different things besides regular 24-hour time--sunrise, sunset, twilight, daybreak, position of the moon and earth, zodiac alignment, planetary time, ancient time. It can even predict eclipses. For a piece of equipment that was originally designed and made in 1410, it's pretty impressive overall. I guess any clock that still works after 600 years is impressive. The makers, Mikulas of Kadan and Jan Sindel, really knew what they were doing.
    Overall, the Astronomical Clock is one of those oddball must-see touristy things that will leave you slightly confused as to what exactly you just witnessed. ...But the thing takes really great photos.

    Prague Astronomical Clock (2008) Prague Astronomical Clock (2008) Prague Astronomical Clock (2008) Prague Astronomical Clock - Death (2008)
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    VOLFLIN OF KAMEN - OLD TOWN HALL

    by balhannah Updated Aug 1, 2013

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    Volflin of Kamen, is one of the five houses that have been joined together to make the Old Town Hall. This gothic house was built at the end of the 13th century. In 1364, the 69.5 metre high Tower was added, and the astronomical clock was installed later again.

    One of the nice points of this building, was its entrance door.
    I must admit that I take notice of doors in very old building's. Why, you may ask - Because to me, they are often masterpieces! Often, they are beautifully carved, a work of art that is not seen around much today.
    This was such a door! It's a late Gothic door which has four Lion's heads, two of them have door knockers, and three ugly faces. Surrounding the door, looks to be fine stucco work, what-ever, it is magnificent!
    Next to the door, is a richly decorated window, beautiful decorations including animals. On the other side, is the Astronomical Clock.
    Make sure you take a close look, you will be surprised with what you find!

    Town Hall main entrance door Town Hall window
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  • nicolaitan's Profile Photo

    The Old Town Hall (5 photos)

    by nicolaitan Written Sep 30, 2006

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    The Old Town Hall with its Tower exceeding 200 feet height was constructed beginning in 1338 with the tower completed in 1364. The blind King John allowed the citizenry a town council, with an adjacent house for the town clerk. As Prague developed as a commercial centre, adjoining houses were added to the Hall beginning in 1364 to create the building we see today. A Gothic renovation was begun in 1470. Besides the famous clock, the building houses the main Tourist Information Center, a staircase to the top of the tower (fee - great views), and a Gothic chapel reconstructed after WWII damage.

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    The Skeleton on the Astronomical Clock

    by easyoar Written May 29, 2006

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    Watch out for the figures on the Astronomical Clock. Some of them are only visible briefly when the clock strikes the hour, but there are also some that are always there but are easy to miss unless you look for them.

    The skeleton is probably my favourite of these, you can see him here (well I assume it’s a he…). He represents death here and can be seen holding an hourglass (no doubt showing people they only have limited time left) and ringing a little bell (calling people to him?).

    The four highest figures are (and some of them are remarkably non-politically correct): Vanity (which shows a man looking in a mirror), Greed (represented by a Jew holding a moneybag), Death (as described above) and Lust (symbolised by a Turk).

    These figures are described as they appear either side of the clock, the first two on the left, and the second two on the right. My second picture shows the two on the left. All of this description can make the hourly chime sound quite spectacular, but most people that see it for the first time look a little shocked at how massively it has been hyped up considering how little actually happens. Still, it is free.

    Death (skeleton) on the Astronomical Clock, Prague Vanity and Greed on the Astronomical Clock, Prague
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  • Blondiina's Profile Photo

    The Old Town Hall Clock

    by Blondiina Written Oct 3, 2004

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    The Clock at the Old Town Hall is worth seeing despite the huge crowd of people trying to see it at the same time as well. Every time when the clock strikes an hour a skeleton resembling death pulls on a rope and the show begins. After this a window above the clock opens and you see Apostles slowly moving around. You can also see the figures of Vanity and Greed at the sides of the clock. At the end of the show, a cock crows and the clock chimes the hour.

    Old Town Hall Clock
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  • easyoar's Profile Photo

    The Old Town Hall

    by easyoar Written May 29, 2006

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    This building is most famous for having the Astronomical Clock built onto the side of it, but I have covered that elsewhere. It is on one side of the Old Town Square (Starometske namesti), and was originally started in 1338. Behind what you can see in my picture is a series of extensions where the Town Hall grew bigger and bigger as time went on.

    These buildings have all been lovingly restored, and look very good now. Heavy damage was inflicted by the Nazi's in 1945 during the Prague Uprising.

    There are good views from the Main Tower. My second picture shows a close up of this main tower with its own clock on (above the Astronomical Clock). The clock is about to strike midday in this second picture.

    The Old Town Hall, Prague The Old Town Hall, Prague
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  • sandysmith's Profile Photo

    Old Town Hall

    by sandysmith Updated Apr 4, 2004

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    The old town hall of Prague is probably one of the most colourful buildings in the old town square - a lovely shade of pink! Several houses were taken over as the Town Hall expanded over the years . Note the coat of arms too which was adopted in 1748 for the whole city and all the shields above - amazing detail.

    Old Town Hall

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    Old Town Hall - Interior Tour

    by sandysmith Updated Apr 3, 2004

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    The Old Town Hall as well as being admired from the outside and the views atop its tower can also be toured inside. It was cold and snowing on our last few hours in Prague and to keep warm we decided to take the guided tour - lasts about 20 mins and cost 50czk each. I thought it was well worthwhile and would recommend it. We kept dry and had a personal guided tour of the function rooms, the vast cellars beneath where you could see orignal levels of the building and former prisons as well as the chapel where you can see the apostles of the astronomical clock in closer detail.

    apostles close up

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    Old Town Hall - Model exhibition

    by sandysmith Updated Jun 25, 2004

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    Ok after you've watched the clock procession on the hour and have toured the inside of the town hall goinside the Old Town Hall (which incidentally is the tourist office) and make your way up to the second floor. Here there is an exhibition of some great photos of Prague and also see the amazing interactive map of Prague which goes through a series of areas of the town and lights up on the model where they are - a great way to get your bearings.

    model of Prague

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    Old Town Hall - Tower Views

    by sandysmith Updated Apr 15, 2004

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    OK after you've seen the model on the second floor go up to the next floor and get a ticket for the tower - inexpensive at 40czk.
    The views from here are some of the best in Prague - those lovely images of the roof tiles and aerial views of the buildings I enjoy so much - see pic on the intro page. You can walk up if you have the stamina but we took the lift ;-)

    This pic shows the lift coming down for us - one of the most unusual shots taken in our Prague collection!

    thunderbirds or  lift??!!

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    Old Town Hall - Gothic Portal

    by sandysmith Written Apr 4, 2004

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    The Town Hall was founded in 1338. In 1364, the tower was joined to a chapel and in 1470, the Town Hall was rebuilt in the Gothic style.
    Don't forget to have a look at the amazing detail of its gothic portal - even now looking at the picture I can see loads more detail.

    Gothic door Old Town Hall

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