Prague Boats

Old Town Astronomical Clock (Orloj) – the history

Prague, Old Town Square, Old Town Astronomical Clock

One of the most mysterious places in Prague which daily attracts thousands of tourists is the Astronomical Clock of the Old Town Hall. What makes the astronomical clock so special? Why do the observers after they see the small performance of the apostles and after the sodger shakes his sack start to clap their hands happily? Is the astronomical clock a common clockwork or is there something more about it? Let´s discover it and learn about its history now.

All about Old Town Hall more click here

Staromestske namesti

Old Town Square

Come with us and explore the real heart of Prague. Do you know the secret of the Old Town Astronomical Clock? Do you know where to find the Prague Meridian and the meaning of the crosses on the paving stones? Click here and explore the Old Town Square on your own!

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Introduction of the Astronomical Clock Prague, Old Town Square, Old Town Astronomical Clock
According to some explorers it is possible to notice that the astronomical clock is divided into four imaginary storeys. The ancient alchemists and astrologers believed that the Universe was composed of the four elements: earth, water, air and fire. These elements are represented also on the layout of the astronomical clock. The earth – the entrance doors for the clockmaker, water – the calendar board, air – the astrolabe and finally the fire -  the apostles and the rooster. Does it really represent the Universe – Cosmos?  Hard to guess today. Let´s go and explore its long and moved history.

Early years of its genesis In 1402 a classical clock was mounted onto the Old Town Hall tower and a few years later a big bell was hung into the tower. The first written record about the Prague Astronomical Clock dates back to October 14th, 1410. Based on this document the astronomical clock was constructed by the clockmaker Mikuláš of Kadaň who created it using the calculations of Jan Šindel, the then Prague´s best mathematician and astronomer. The present image of the astronomical clock we know today was the work of master Jan Hanuš and Jan Táborský. We also need to mention the sculptoral decorations of the astronomical clock made by the famous architect Petr Parléř. Rest of the sculptural decoration comes from later a period.

The Old Town Astronomical Clock (czech: Staroměstský orloj) Prague, Old Town Square, Old Town Astronomical Clock – the astronomical dial
However, let´s return to the year 1410. In this year  the oldest parts, the mechanical clockwork and astronomical dial, were made. As we had already mentioned they were made by the clockmaker Mikuláš of Kadaň. The historians believed for long years that the astronomical clock had been created first in 1490 by a clockmaker Jan Růž who was rather familiar under his nickname Mistr Hanuš. However he was not the constructor of the astronomical clock but only was repairing it in the period between 1475 – 1497. During those years he carried out extensive modifications of the astronomical clock. After his death a clockmaker Jakub took over the administration. He became aware of the clockwork when Mistr Hanuš was still alive. After his death Václav Zvůnek became the astronomical clockmaker but he failed to fulfill his duty properly and so he was replaced by Jan Táborský who also made a few modifications there.

Reconstruction of the Astronomical Clock Prague, Old Town Square, Old Town Astronomical Clock – Statues of the apostles
During its existence, the astronomical clock had been repaired several times. It even happened many times that it stopped working completely. In the 18th century the people completely lost interest in the time measuring device and it was forgotten and started to deteriorate. Due to its desolate state it nearly ended up in scrap iron. Luckily, it was consequently repaired due to Antonín Strnad, Professor of the Charles University. He managed to persuade the chairmans of Prague to reconstruct this significant historical sight. The reparation of the Old Town Astronomical Clock was carried out by the clockmaker Šimon Landsperger between 1787 – 1791. Several years later the statues of the apostles were added to the astronomical clock and after another reconstruction (performed between 1865 – 1866) it received the crowing rooster and also completely renewed astronomical functions. Another damage affected the Old Town Astronomical Clock in 1945, during the Prague Uprising. The fire of the entire town hall resulted in extensive damage of the facility. The fire damaged not just the complete wooden construction but mainly the clockwork and the statues of the apostles. Due to incredible efforts of Vesecký brothers the astronomical clock wa repaired in 1948 and has been fully functional until today.

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Photo Gallery:

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Contact:

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Address:
Staroměstská radnice (Old Town Hall)
Staroměstské náměstí 3, 4/1,
Praha 1 – Staré Město, 110 00

GPS: 50°5’13.571″N, 14°25’14.397″E

Connection:
Tram: 17, 18, 53 Staroměstská (then walk along Kaprova street)
Bus: 133 Staroměstská (then walk along Kaprova street)
Metro: A – Staroměstská (then walk along Kaprova street)

Transport connection:
Search for connections: click here
Information on Prague transport: click here
Information on Prague public transport: click here

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Map:

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Staroměstská radnice 50.086997, 14.420457 The Old Town Hall ( Staroměstská radnice ) was founded in 1338. It is comprised of 5 individual houses which were gradually joined together into one building. http://www.praguecityline.com/monuments/old-town-hall

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DOWNLOAD: Tourist Guide in the Area

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Průvodce Praha 1 - ENG - úvodní stránka

  Tourist guide PRAGUE CITY LINE - Prague 1 (14,7 MiB)

Prague 1 still belongs to one of the most attractive parts of the whole Prague. Probably nowhere else you can find such a concentration of historic monuments and places where the history and romance of bygone times are all around you. Hardly anywhere you can walk on the same paths where were walking Franz Kafka, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and the Golem of Prague.

 

Other interesting links - Read also

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All about: Royal route and the coronation of King more read here
All about: Petrin Hill more read here
All about: Old Town Square more read here
All about: Jewish Prague more read here
All about: Prague Gardens and Parks more read here

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