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Underneath the astronomical dial of Staroměstský orloj a gorgeous, historically very precious calendar is to be found. Besides the signs of the Zodiac the calendar determines the individual days and months but also the significant church holidays. The calendar contains allegories with pastoral theme. We will explain now how the whole calendar works.
In the time when the Old Town Astronomical Clock was created it only contained the astronomical dial. The calendar in the lower part underneath the dial was mounted onto the Old Town Hall much later. The exact date has not been preserved however based on the historical sources the artistic decoration of the original calendar board was made in 1659. The
huge circular board with more than two metres in diameter was made of copper. It turns clockwise. The other calendar board is not rotary and you can view the municipal sign of Prague with golden fortifications and towers on it. It comes from the rule period of the King Vladislav II. The calendar board was made by the artist Josef Mánes in 1865. However, his board was later
stored in the Prague City Museum and was replaced by the copy by Jan Kryštof Liška.
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How does the calendar work?
Let´s return to the largest part of the calendar. There are pictures of the individual months placed all around, each of them representing certain pastoral motive. Underneath them smaller pictures are to be found representing the individual signs of the Zodiac. On the edge of the big circle there is a church calendar composed of three hunded and sixty-five rays with the names of the saints and all the fixed holidays. So every day the little hand in the upper part of the calendar turns about one of these rays.
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As already mentioned there is a circle on the perimeter of the calendar board with all significant holidays of the year marked on it. It is the so-called „cisioján“, or rhymed calendar frequently used in the past. The text of cisioján is composed of individual syllables of the names of the saints and due to that mnemonic people were able to remember the holidays well. The idea of cisioján is that the relevant calendar day which is a holiday contains the first syllable of the saint´s name. All the initial syllables of the moth are turned into rhymes helping people to remember all the holidays.
How to get to Old Town Square:
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
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)
More links here:
All about: Prague 1 Monuments
All about: Prague 2 Monuments
All about: Prague 3 Monuments
All about: Prague Castle
All about: Royal route and the coronation of King
All about: Jewish Prague
All about: Old Town Square
All about: Petrin Hill
All about: Prague gardens and Parks
Photogallery of Old Town Astronomical Clock (Orloj)