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    Prague astronomical clock

    Prague astronomical clock

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    Prague Astronomical Clock

    The Prague Astronomical Clock or Prague Orloj (Czech: [praʃskiː orloj]) is a medieval astronomical clock attached to the Old Town Hall in Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic.

    The clock was first installed in 1410, making it the third-oldest astronomical clock in the world and the oldest clock still in operation.[1][2]


    1 Description 2 History

    2.1 600th anniversary

    2.2 605th anniversary

    2.3 2018 reconstruction

    2.4 2022 reconstruction controversy

    3 Astronomical dial

    3.1 Stationary background

    3.2 Zodiacal ring

    3.3 Old Czech time scale

    3.4 Sun 3.5 Moon 4 Animated figures 5 Calendar 6 See also 7 References 7.1 Cited sources 7.2 Other sources 8 External links


    The Orloj is mounted on the southern wall of Old Town Hall in the Old Town Square. The clock mechanism has three main components — the astronomical dial, representing the position of the Sun and Moon in the sky and displaying various astronomical details; statues of various Catholic saints stand on either side of the clock; "The Walk of the Apostles", an hourly show of moving Apostle figures and other sculptures, notably a figure of a skeleton that represents Death, striking the time; and a calendar dial with medallions representing the months. According to local legend, the city will suffer if the clock is neglected and its good operation is placed in jeopardy; a ghost, mounted on the clock, was supposed to nod its head in confirmation. According to the legend, the only hope was represented by a boy born on New Year's night.[3]


    The clock tower

    The oldest part of the Orloj, the mechanical clock and astronomical dial, dates back to 1410, when it was created by clockmaker Mikuláš of Kadaň and Charles University professor of mathematics and astronomy Jan Šindel. The first recorded mention of the clock was on 9 October 1410.[4] Later, presumably around 1490, the calendar dial was added and the clock facade was decorated with gothic sculptures.

    Formerly, it was believed that the Orloj was constructed in 1490 by clockmaster Jan Růže (also called Hanuš); this is now known to be a historical mistake. A legend, recounted by Alois Jirásek, has it that the clockmaker Hanuš was blinded on the order of the Prague Councillors so that he could not repeat his work; in turn, he disabled the clock, and no one was able to repair it for the next hundred years.

    In 1552 it was repaired by Jan Táborský (1500–1572), master clockmaker of Klokotská Hora, who also wrote a report of the clock where he mentioned Hanuš as the maker of this clock. This mistake, corrected by Zdeněk Horský,[5] was due to an incorrect interpretation of records from the period. The mistaken assumption that Hanuš was the maker is probably connected with his reconstruction of the Old Town Hall in the years 1470–1473. The clock stopped working many times in the centuries after 1552, and was repaired many times. The legend was used as the main plot in the animated movie .

    In 1629 or 1659 wooden statues were added, and figures of the Apostles were added after a major repair in 1787–1791. During the next major repair in the years 1865–1866 the golden figure of a crowing rooster was added.

    The Orloj suffered heavy damage on 7 and especially 8 May 1945, during the Prague uprising, when the Nazis fired on the south-west side of the Old Town Square from several armoured vehicles in an unsuccessful attempt to destroy one of the centers of the uprising. The hall and nearby buildings burned, along with the wooden sculptures on the clock and the calendar dial face made by Josef Mánes.[6] After significant effort, the machinery was repaired, the wooden Apostles restored by Vojtěch Sucharda, and the Orloj started working again in 1948.[7]

    The Orloj was renovated in autumn 2005, when the statues and the lower calendar ring were restored. The wooden statues were covered with a net to keep pigeons away.

    The last renovation of the astronomical clock was carried out from January to September 2018, following a reconstruction of the Old Town Tower. During the renovation, an electric clock mechanism that had been in operation since 1948 was replaced by an original mechanism from the 1860s.[8]

    600th anniversary[edit]

    On 9 October 2010, the Orloj's 600th anniversary was celebrated with a light show on the face of the clock tower. Two projectors were used to project several animated videos on the clock. The videos showed it being built, torn down, rebuilt, and peeled away to show its internal mechanisms and the famous animated figures, as well as various events in the clock's history. The video interacted with the tower's architecture, such as rain rolling off the arch, and showing the passage of time with moving shadows.[9]

    605th anniversary[edit]

    Source : en.wikipedia.org

    Prague's Astronomical Clock Czech Center Museum Houston

    One of Prague’s most popular landmarks is the Astronomical Clock located in Old Town Square. It is well over 600 years old and is one of the oldest functional astronomical clocks in the world.

    March 11, 2020

    Prague's Astronomical Clock

    History, Culture

    One of Prague’s most popular landmarks is the Astronomical Clock located in Old Town Square. It is well over 600 years old and is one of the oldest functional astronomical clocks in the world.

    "Old Town City Hall" by Dr. Jaus is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

    The astronomical clock in Prague, otherwise known as The Orloj, shows the relative positions of the Sun, Moon, Earth, and Zodiac constellations. It also tells the time, provides the date, and, best of all, provides some theater for its viewers on the hour, every hour.

    In order to provide this level of functionality, the clock is split into several distinct parts.

    The first, and most striking, is its impressive and beautifully ornate astronomical dial. This represents the position of the Sun and Moon in the sky and other various astronomical details.

    "Prague anatomical clock" by henweb is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

    An astronomical dial is a form of the mechanical astrolabe which was commonly used in medieval timekeeping and astronomical studies.

    The main stationary background to the clock's face has a wealth of information to anyone who is able to read it. On the outermost ring of the background is a series of glyphs that are representative of ancient Czech time.

    Moving closer to the center, a set of Roman numerals can be seen. Like most traditional clocks, these are used to indicate 24 hour time.

    Each of the various hues of blue and brown within the main plate indicate events like sunrise, daybreak, daytime, nighttime etc as well as including various geographical information like the location of tropics and the equator.

    The Earth is located in the very center of the dial.

    Superimposed on the main astrolabe is the Zodiacal ring. This displays the various signs of the zodiac and is intended to mark the location of the Sun on the ecliptic.

    Just above the main clock are two blue doors that open to reveal "The Walk of the Apostles". Between 9 am and 9 pm, each hour, on the hour, the window of the clock in the upper part shows the 12 apostles moving. Simultaneously, the surrounding sculptures on the device are set in motion. One of the moving figures carrying an hourglass in his hand personifies Death. Another moving figurine has a mirror, representing Vanity. Other figurines, such as those of the Astronomer, the Philosopher, or the Chronicler, appear to be motionless. However, several of these figures are replicas because their originals were severely damaged by the Germans at the end of the second world war.

    Below the main astrolabe and clock is the calendar dial. In its center, it shows the symbol of the Old Town of Prague and its outer ring reads the description of each day for the entire year. The current day is shown at the very top. Each month is also represented by a zodiac sign situated in a medallion.

    The current date is tracked around the circumference of the dial which also indicates annual events like each Saints Feast Day.

    "Prague, Czech Republic" by gamillos is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

    The Prague Astronomical Clock was first installed in 1410. This makes it the world's third-oldest astronomical clock and the oldest still in operation today.

    The lower calendar dial was added in around 1490. Around the same time, the incredible gothic statues were also added.

    At some time in the late 1600s, probably between 1629 and 1659, the wooden statues were installed. The Apostle statues were added during a major refit between 1787 and 1791.

    The clock tower's iconic golden crowing rooster was added in around 1865.

    For many years it was believed that the clock was designed and built by clock-master Jan Růže, also known as Hanuš. This has since been shown to be a historical mistake.

    However, this mistake led to the creation of a local legend that is still told to tourists today. The tale states that after this clock was built, Hanuš was approached by many a foreign nation, each wishing to have its own town square topped with a marvelous astronomical clock. Hanuš refused to show the plans of his masterpiece to anyone, but word got back to the Prague Councilors. Overcome with fear that Hanuš might build a bigger, better, and more beautiful clock for another nation, the Councilors had the brilliant clockmaker blinded, ensuring that their clock would never be topped. Driven mad, the clockmaker took the ultimate revenge, throwing himself into his extraordinary work of art, gumming up the clock’s gears and ending his own life at the same time. In doing so, he cursed the clock. All who tried to fix it would either go insane or die.

    In fact, this event never happened and Hanuš does not appear to be the original craftsman. According to a paper discovered in 1961 that contains an insightful description of how the clock’s astronomical dial works, the creator was the Imperial clock-producer Mikuláš of Kadaň.

    It appears Mikuláš was also assisted by an astronomer and university teacher named Jan Sindel. Sindel offered an astronomers insight with Mikuláš making the clock actually work.

    Source : www.czechcenter.org

    Prague’s Astronomical Clock: medieval high technology

    With over 600 years of history, the famous Astronomical Clock is one of the most photographed landmarks in Prague. Don’t miss it on your stay in the city.

    The Astronomical Clock: Prague’s best-loved way to tell the time

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    The Astronomical Clock is the great landmark of Old Town Square. Situated on the southern wall of Prague Town Hall, it is such a compelling sight that it has possibly become the most photographed landmark by tourists visiting the beautiful capital city of the Czech Republic. The clock is unusual in that, in addition to indicating the 24 hours of the day, the astronomical dial shows the position of the sun and the moon in the sky, along with other astronomical information.

    However, the dial is not the only unique feature of this complex, historic clock, which is over 600 years old. Prague’s famous clock also boasts several moving figures, which appear in the procession of the apostles, controlled by a sophisticated mechanism that sets the 12 apostles in motion when the clock strikes the hour. Finally, it also boasts a calendar dial with a dozen medallions symbolising the months of the year.

    The most famous astronomical clock in Prague

    So fascinating is the clock of Prague’s Old Town Hall Tower that it’s well worth paying attention to each and every one of the parts that make up its structure, which are all listed below:

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    Astronomical dial

    The oldest part of the clock, dating from 1410, it was built by the clockmaker Mikuláš of Kadaň and by Jan Sindel, professor of Astronomy at Charles University in Prague. The dial is a form of astrolabe, in which you can easily see, inside the black circle, the signs of the zodiac, which were very important in fifteenth-century Prague, in addition to icons representing the sun and the moon. On the clock you can also see the aurora or dawn (on the left) and sunset (on the right), whilst the golden numbers in the blue circle represent the hours of the day.

    The Astronomical clock in Prague

    The moving figures of Prague’s medieval clock

    The four figures surrounding the clock are four allegories representing vanity (a man holding a mirror), greed (a businessman with a bag of money), death (a skeleton with an hourglass) and extravagance (a Turk prince playing the mandolin). When the clock strikes the hour they start to dance: the vain man looks in the mirror, the greedy man moves his bag, the skeleton shakes the hourglass indicating the time and the extravagant man moves his head. Meanwhile, hundreds of tourists stand captivated on Old Town Square in Prague.

    This whole spectacle happens at the same time as the procession of the apostles, in which the windows open and the figures come into view one by one. In the left window, appears St Paul with his sword and a book, followed by St Thomas, St Jude Thaddeus, St Simon, St Bartholomew and St Barnaby. Whilst in the right window, we see St Peter with his keys to the kingdom of heaven, followed by St Matthias, St John, St Andrew and St James. And when the windows finally close, a rooster crows, followed by the ringing of bells, to announce the end of the spectacle.

    Josef Mánes’s calendar

    On the lower part of the clock you can also see 12 medallions, designed by the Czech painter Josef Mánes, representing the months of the year, and four other figures: a philosopher, an angel, an astronomer and a chronicler.

    Source : www.barcelo.com

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