Medieval astrology turns tourist attraction – the Astronomical Clock in Old Prague Square certainly knows how to draw a crowd. Daily, tourists marvel at the beauty of the clock and gather on the hour to watch the 15th century statues dance and hear the cock crow at the Old Town Hall.
First installed in 1410, the Prague Astrological Clock is the oldest working astrological clock of its kind. Made of 3 main sections, (1) the astronomical dial represents the position of the sun and moon, displaying astrological details, (2) the “Walk of the Apostles” shows figures of the apostles and a figure of death striking time and (3) the Calendar Dial, added in 1490, is made with 12 medallions – the signs of the zodiac, added by Josef Manes in 1865 – to represent the months. The moving statues and apostles, big crowd pleasers, were added in the 17th century after major repair in 1865 – 1866.
It becomes difficult to move in front of Old Town Square as the crowds in front of the tower crane their necks and point their cameras upward, anxiously waiting the procession of the Twelve Apostles: on the hour, every hour, as 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.
The Old Town Hall Tower, built in 1338, is quite. Inside is a narrow spiral staircase and an elevator to a viewing platform, offering terrific views over the Old Town Square and the rest of the Old Town. The climb to the top is well worth the view – as you take in the stunning beauty of Prague.
It is no wonder the city is known as the city of a 1,000 spires – from the tower vantage point – look around and see for yourself as the red roof and cathedral spires are laid out in front of you.
We only ventured up to the top of the clock tower in the day – I can only imagine how gorgeous the views of the city would be at dusk as the lights come on to showcase Prague’s many cathedrals and architectural wonders…..perhaps a destination for the next visit to one of Europe’s most romantic cities!
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