People of all age groups have, over the centuries, marveled at the workmanship and working of the Prague Astronomical Clock. Built in the Middle Ages, by a legendary clockmaker by the name of Hanus, the historic landmark remains a mechanical wonder that delights with its march of apostles and other figures.
The clock has been renovated many times over the course of the years to repair the ravages of time and natural disasters. One of the major renovation works was carried out in 1865 when the old parts were replaced and the surface got a new coat of paint. The Second World War bombing also damaged the clock somewhat and extensive repairs were carried out after the war to give the clock the shape it has now.
There are many legends associated with one of the most notable tourist attractions in Prague, Czechia. One of the most notable legends relates the unfortunate fate of Hanus after he had finished building the clock. The administrators of the city were happy with his work. So much so, they feared he would replicate his workmanship elsewhere. To prevent this from happening, they had Hanus blinded. The authenticity of this legend remains under doubt, but does provide an insight into how proud the citizens were and continue to be, of this mechanical marvel.
Another version of events credits Mikulas of Kadan as the designer of the clock. He collaborated with a noted astronomer to create the clock.
March of the apostles
The mechanism of the clock, elaborately planned, allows for different figurines to participate in different activities. The clock does not just chime every hour, like a regular clock. Instead, at every hour, the figurines appear from inside the clock. The 12 apostles make an appearance. But that is not all. The clock proves to be even more wonderful thanks to the many interesting figurines on the sides. For example, there is a bell ringing skeleton, a miser counting money, and a Turk. Human figurines are not the only things depicted. The clock also features a crowing rooster.
Timepiece like no other
The clock keeps track of European and Babylonian time. It also offers information on sidereal time and zodiac signs prevailing over the current month. Very few clocks in the world can claim so many distinctions. This has made the Astronomical Clock a thing of wonder among visitors. Modern technology has added to the charm of this historic timepiece. Visitors can now watch projection images on the clock which depicts the history of the city.
How to get there
The Prague Astronomical Clock is located in the Old Town area, a notable tourist destination. For those using tram, the lines 17,18 and 53 are recommended. If you use the bus or metro, you would need to reach the Staromestska. You would then need to walk a few minutes through the Kaprova Street, and visitors usually find this to be an enjoyable walk.
The Old Town also boasts some other notable attractions. It features the St. Nicolas Church, Stone Bell House, Jan Hus memorial, and the beautiful backdrop of the river Vltava.