The Old Town Astronomical Clock dating from the 15th century is one of the most treasured and best-known of Prague's historical sites. It can be found on the side of the Gothic tower of the Old Town Hall. The Astronomical Clock is a one of the best examples of Czech Gothic technology and a prized work of art.
On the hour every hour between 9.00 and 21.00 small statues of the12 apostles appear in small windows at the top of the clock. On either side of the clock a Skeleton, a Turk, a Miser and a figure representing Vanity come to life. When all the apostles have presented themselves to the crowds below, a cockerel crows and the clock chimes the hour.
According to legend, Prague's councillors had the eyes of the creator of the Astronomical Clock put out so that he could not repeat the feat elsewhere.
The Astronomical Clock shows four different times:
- Central European time - this is marked by the sun-arm travelling round the Roman numerals around the inner edge of the clock face.
- Old Bohemian time - according to this way of timekeeping, the new day begins at sunset. It is marked by gold Gothic numerals on the outer ring of the main clock face.
- Babylonian time - the day lasts from sunrise to sunset meaning in summer the days are longer than in winter. Prague's Astronomical Clock is the only one in the world which shows this time.
- Stellar time - This is shown in Roman numerals. Below the main clock is another calendar disk which shows the days, weeks and months.
When you have watched the Astronomical Clock in action, why not climb the Old Town Hall Tower. From the top you can watch the crowds of tourists below and view the entire Old Town Square from above.
Sources: Czech Tourism