Every hour on the hour 9am untill 9pm people gather in the old town square to see the Astronomical clock perform, In the two top windows of the tower the Apostles shuffle past and bow to the audience, perched on pinnacles below are the four threats to the city as perceived by the medieval mind: death carrying his hourglass and tolling his bell, the jew with his moneybags,vanity admiring his reflection and a turbaned turk shaking his head. Beneathe the moving figures, four characters representing Philosophy, religion, Astronomy and History stand moyionless throughout the performance. Then a cock pops out and flaps his wings to signal the showis over.the clock then chimes the hour.It's a great atmosphere you can get a warm drink from the coffee stalls at the square.
Master Clockmaker Mikulas of Kadane made this clock in 1410. In 1490 it was improved in 1490 by a Master Hanus providing teh mechanical marvel you see today. The legend goes that after Hanus made the improvements, he got blind.
This is an explenation of how the clock works:
Four figures beside the clock represent the deepest civic anxieties of the 15th-century:
Vanity (with a mirror)
Greed (with his money bag)
Pagan Invasion (represented by a Turk)
The four figures below these are:
On the hour, Death rings a bell and inverts his hourglass. The 12 Apostles parade past the windows above the clock, nodding to the crowd.
On the left side are:
Paul (with a sword and a book)
On the right side are:
Peter (with a key)
At the end, a cock crows and the hour is rung.
On the upper face, the disk in the middle of the fixed part depicts the world known as time.
The hours of sunrise and sunset:
The gold suntraces a circle through the blue zone of the day, the brown zone of dusk in the west, the black disc of night and dawn in the east.
The sun-arm points to the hour (without any daylight-saving time adjustment).
The moon, witt its phases shown, also traces a path through the zoens of day and night. On the ring you can also read which houses of the zodiac the sun and moon are in. The hand with a little star at the end of it indicates sidereal (stellar) time.
The calendar-wheel beneath all this astronomical wizadry, with 12 seasonal scenes celebrating rural Bohemian life, is a duplicate of one painted in 1866 by the Czech Rvivalist Josef Manes.
Sort of a cross between Munich's Glockenspiel and a shrine to astronomy, the Astronomical clock is a big favorite for tourists in Old Town Square. The original clock was constructed in 1410, with additional bits and pieces added towards the end of the 19th Century. The whole structure was destroyed by the Nazis in 1945; what you see is a reconstruction. A fun chain of events sets off at the top of each hour, most notably the 12 Apostles drifting by to bless the crowd. At least once during your stay in Prague, you should join the throngs of tourists and enjoy the show! Just beware of the pickpockets.
The Astronomical Clock on the side of the Old Town Hall Tower was built in 15 century. People observe the procession of the Twelve Apostles: on the hour, every hour, a small trap door opens and Christ marches out ahead of his students, while the skeleton of death tolls the bell to a defiant statue of a Turk.
The Astronomical Clock is on te side of the Old Town Hall Tower dates as far back as the 15th century.
To appreciate the clock you should get there on the hour, and every hour you will witness the procession of the 12 apostles, where the trap door opens and Christ marches out in front of his disciples. The skeleton of death tolls the bell to a defiant statue of a Turk.
Its very popular, so prepare a crowd of people with cameras flashing wildly.
I love the clock, looks goreous... if only I had a wall big enough... :)
After several days of wandering around Prague, we *finally* made it to see the hourly show at the astronomical clock on our last day in the city, it's really much ado about nothing if you ask me but it's just one of those things that tourists are compelled to do! Every hour on the hour during the day (I think it's 10am-8pm) the clock starts chiming, the saints go marching round, the skeleton rings his bell, the billion tourists that have suddenly appeared out of nowhere ooh and aah and then it's done.
OK, check that one off the list and we're onto the next thing...
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.
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.
The Town Hall was founded in 1338, its gothic tower & oriel chapel were built in the latter half of the 14th century. A gothic wing of the Town Hall was destroyed in May 1945 & hasn't been rebuilt yet.
From the top of the tower you get spectacular views of the Old Town and beyond.
Current opening times are
Tower: Mon 11-20 hrs. Tues - Sun 9-20 hrs.
Interior: Mon 11-18 hrs. Tues - Sun 9-18 hrs.
The Astronomical Clock on the side of the Old Town Hall Tower dates back to the 15th century. To appreciate this intricate construction to its fullest, join the crowd in front of the tower to observe the procession of the Twelve Apostles: on the hour, every hour, a 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.
Below the Astronomical Clock are 12 medallions with the signs of the zodiac, added by Josef Manes in 1865.
The Old Town Hall Tower is one of the most striking buildings in Prague, built in 1338. Inside is a staircase and an elevator. For a minimal fee, visitors can climb to the top to enjoy wonderful views
The Astronomical Clock on the side of the Old Town Hall Tower dates back to the 15th century. I stood with the rest of the crowd in front of the tower to observe the procession of the Twelve Apostles: on the hour, every hour, a 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.
Built in 1410...and it still works!!! On the hour little figures come out and dance. Its worth it to take a look if you're in the area...although don't look away as its over before you know it. Tourists congregate in front and others peer out of the ancient windows above of the Town Hall.
After having lunch with family or friends at the Old Town Square, Do not forget to give the Astronomical Clock a visit. A clock that has so many history for years back! As the place is a popular tourist attraction, Always, Always be wary of your personal belongings.
The Orloj Clock, more than 500 years old, is the main attraction in Old Town Square.
Every hour you can see 12 apostles marching, and 4 allegorical figures, representing vanity, greed, death and lust.
Old Town Hall Tower:
All Year: Mon 11:00-18:00; Tue-Sun 09:00-18:00
one of the top attractions of prague is the astronomical clock. the first clock was built in the early 15th century and a new one was installed in 1490. the new clock was built by master clock maker hanus. the councillors of prague did not want the clock duplicated elsewhere so they blinded hanus. once an hour from 9:AM to 9:PM the clock puts on a mechanical show featuring the 12 apostles and a skeleton. a cock crows and the clock chimes the hour and that's it.