Astronomical clock tower, Prague!

Let me make a stop on my posts on France, and take you back to lovely Prague, Czech Republic. Many many years ago as a young boy came to Prague then part of Czechoslovakia for a two days student fair. Many many years later came back on a business trip but saw the part of Prague visitors do not go in the outer limits of the city.

Finally, came back several times and was able to visit the more visible tourist attraction areas of central Prague or Praha 1. One of the building that kept a lasting memory on me was the Astronomical Clock tower in old town square. I like to bring back those memories here.

The Astronomical Clock tower is a medieval astronomical clock in the Old Town Square. The clock is located on the south wall of City/Town Hall of Prague.


The clock was built in 1410, and remodeled around 1490. Legend has it that the watchmaker Hanus was punctured, to prevent him from reproducing his masterpiece elsewhere.!! The clock comes alive every hour until 21h (9 p.m) with the Twelve Apostles scroll above the top dial, used to read the time (it is a 24-hour dial) and the position of the Moon and the Sun while the bottom dial displays the Saint of the day as well as the astrological signs.


The Astronomical Clock is decorated in its upper part by four allegories representing from left to right: vanity, with its mirror; avarice, a Jewish trader with his purse; death, a skeleton that calls with a bell; and the lust or envy of a Turkish prince, with his mandolin. The astronomical dial has the shape of a plan spherical astrolabe. Its fixed background represents the Earth and the sky. On this background are moving four main motives: the zodiacal circle, an external oscillating circle, a reduced model of Sun , aligned with a golden hand, and a reduced model of the Moon. In the middle of the clock a circle is circling the zodiac signs that indicate the position of the Sun on the ecliptic. To note that because of the precession of the equinoxes, the signs now indicate only in which astrological sign of the zodiac we are. The outer circle has golden Gothic numbers on a black background. These numbers indicate the time according to the old Czech time (or Italian hours): this is the number of hours since sunset, plus half an hour. The circle is movable to take into account the evolution of the sunset time during the year.


The Golden Sun follows the zodiac circle, thus illustrating the astrological sign of the zodiac in which we are. The Sun remains aligned with a golden hand which allows the hours of the outer dial to be read. The movement of the Moon is similar to that of the Sun, although it is faster. The sphere is only silver on its half, by turning it indicates the lunar phase.

In summary, on the clock, one can read: Local time, designated by the golden hand on the Roman numerals; The hour in twelfths of a day, designated by the position of the Sun on the golden curves; The hour in ancient Czech hours, designated by the golden hand on the Gothic figures; The position of the Sun in the sky; The position of the moon in the sky; The lunar phase; The zodiac astrological sign in which one is (as well as the decant); and Sidereal time, indicated by the little golden star.

 This Astronomical Clock has been repaired several times since its creation in the 14C, notably in 1948 after being burned by the Nazis in their flight, in 1945. It was again repaired in 1994 and in 2006.

City of Prague tourist officeCity of Prague tourist office on the Astronomical Clock in English

There you go another nice souvenirs of my visits to Prague. And there is a lot more in my blog on Prague and other parts of the Czech Republic and Slovakia. For now enjoy the Astronomical Clock of Prague.

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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