Astronomical Clock

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4 Old Town Square, Prague, Czech Republic
224 226 878

Astronomical Clock Prague Reviews

Andy99 Andy99
579 reviews
The Amazing Prague Orloj Sep 27, 2011
The Prague Orloj, commonly known as the Astronomical Clock or Old Town Clock, overlooks Old Town Square. It is said to be the oldest operating clock of its kind.

The clock is in three parts.

The Astronomical Clock proper is the middle disc and the most complex part. Most observers ponder exactly what it is doing. (And it is doing quite a lot, especially the mechanism behind the scenes.) The outer ring gives the time in traditional Bohemian notation (beginning at sunset). The second ring with Roman Numerals gives the time in traditional notation. The inner ring shows the position of the sun and moon in the twelve sign of the Zodiac. Figures of Vanity and Greed are to the left and Death and the Turk to the right. These figures move on the hour. Additional non-moving figures add to the clock's decoration.

Below the Astronomical Clock dial is the golden Calendar disc created by Josef Manes in 1866. The Calendar depicts the months of the year in Bohemian countryside scenes. It moves to show the current month at the top. (September was Harvest.)

At the top of both discs is the Procession of the Apostles. On the hour, carved figures of the Twelve Apostles process through two windows (six in each window). To complete the time signal, a golden cock crows and the hour chimes.

One must remember the clock has been operating since the 15th century, possibly since 1410, but no one is absolutely sure. And it is still operating on largely the original analog clockwork mechanism, through various wars and catastrophes, especially the destruction of most of the Old Town Hall during World War II. A clock inspector regularly checks and cleans it.

The Astronomical Clock is clearly a "must" when visiting Prague. You can't miss it in Old Town Square. A crowd of people will gather in front of it hourly. But, everyone can look up to the Old Town Hall Tower and have a good view of the timepiece.
Prague Orloj or Astronomical Clock…
Astronomical Clock detail: The Thr…
The Calendar depicts the months of…
Astronomical Clock in action: Proc…
9 / 9 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
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Nana_gincin says:
Congrats for the feature on your very informative review!
Posted on: Jan 09, 2016
WalterC says:
Very informative. I should put a link to your review, in one of my blogs, as this explains very well, what the features are.
Posted on: Dec 24, 2011
vulindlela says:
Congrats!!
Posted on: Dec 24, 2011
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WalterC WalterC
306 reviews
Make time to check out this historical clock Mar 05, 2011
Located in the Old Town Square, the Astronomical Clock is an old clock that dates back to the early 15th century, on the side of the Old Town Hall. Not hard to miss.

Considering when it was built, the Astronomical Clock is really impressive in the fact with the way it told time. But that’s not all it told, as it also told the sunrise and sunset times, as well as the phases of the moon. The history and how it worked back then, is remarkable in itself, as it seems to have 2 sets of clocks. You can read more about all this on Wikipedia and other reviews.

Throughout most of the day, at the top of the hour, there is a little show near the top of the tower. There are 2 windows that open, then the 12 apostles pass by those windows. Then a guy blows on a horn, and the clock chimes. Naturally, this will attract crowds, so I definitely recommend getting there early in the morning, when the crowds are sparse. The first hour can be 8 AM or 9 AM, depending on the season. Though, I think seeing the crowds gathered together, and looking up in anticipation is a sight in itself. The show itself is okay, but it can be hard to see at times.

You can also go to the top of the tower. There is admission, and you have the option to go up the stairs or take the elevator to the top. While the views are really nice, seeing the surrounding Old Town area, the viewing area is really cramped, and can be difficult to get around people. Plus a closer view of the guy blowing the horn.

Needless to say, the Astronomical Clock should not be missed by visitors to Prague. The apostles show at the top of the hour, should be seen at least once. And the trip to the top of the tower is worth doing for the nice views.
entire clock
doors closed, before the apostles …
apostles passing by
view from top of clock tower
3 / 3 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
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spocklogic says:
I like these old multi-functional clocks. Works of art and masterpieces of engineering.
Posted on: Jan 09, 2016
esterrene esterrene
188 reviews
Great views of the city Sep 12, 2011
Fun fact: The Astronomical Clock of Prague is one of the three oldest Astronomical clocks in existence.

It is located in the Old Town Center and It would be impossible to miss with the large crowds standing outside waiting for the moment with the mechanical saints and rooster come to life. To todays technical standards the effects of medieval mechanisms are elementary, but it is still impressive espacially considering that after 600 years the clock is still working..

At the base of tower there is an office selling the tickets. 150 Kc each I think. The entrance is located in the attached building on the right a few yards away. You will take an elevator part way up and then walk a winding ramp. There is an elevator going to the top, but the ramp isn't so bad plus there are large posters with information relating to the tower hanging on the walls for those interested.

At the top you will walk out onto a narrow ledge that wraps around the building. There are spectacular views from every angle, but it can be tight up there when crowded.

Though there is an elevator that could comfortably bring people with disabilities to the top I would not say that the tower is handicap accessible because the ledge is very narrow.

I suggest buying a Trdelnik - a cylinder shaped sugar dough cooked in the open over fire - and enjoy it while waiting for the clock to perform with the rest of the tourists and then head to the top to enjoy the view of the Old town center and the cityscape. Its cheap and a fun thing to do with friends, family or alone.
inside
2 / 2 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
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jeminigirl jeminigi…
113 reviews
Nice Clock, but over-hyped Aug 23, 2011
The guide books had said that this was a must see and given the number of people that we had seen gathering around the clock in the build up to the hour we thought we would wander over and see what all the fuss was about.

The clock itself is adjoined to the Old Town Hall tower and is a beautiful piece of architecture with very intricate details. We arrived just before 11am and the square in front was absolutely jam packed with tourists awaiting the hourly display.

On the hour the small skeleton to the right begins to ring a small gold bell, then two doors open and some figurines (the apostles) pass by the open doors, then a cockerel crows and the bell starts to toll. A bugler appears at the top of the Old Town Hall tower and gives a little ditty on his bugle. To be honest it was a lot of hype over something that was not particularly spectacular, but its another thing to tick off the list.
Astronomical Clock
Astronomical Clock
2 / 2 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
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davidx davidx
564 reviews
Probably the most visited place in Prague Sep 08, 2010
The Astronomical Clock is on the wall of the City hall in Old Town Square. As it approached any hour, a crowd comes apparently from nowhere. I think it most unlikely that you would ever have the chance to see the hour display on your own! It was initially made in 1410 but a very major repair was carried out in the 19th century.

Every hour, on the hour, small doors open and out come the twelve apostles (in wood) and parade to another entrance, At the same time some wooden figures outside the clock also move. Death has an hour glass and beckons to anther figure who shakes his head.

There are dials showing seasons and different times according to various methods of calculation.
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fairygirl1844 fairygir…
8 reviews
Jul 11, 2007
On the hour death rings his little bell, and the 12 apostles appear through 2 windowns above. Hundreds of people turn out to see this and its all very traditional when everyone claps at the end. The clock itself shows you the time of day, the months and seasons of the year, the signs of the zodiac, the course of the sun and the holidays of the Christian calander......if you can work out what is what on the face of the clock....please let me know !! Tis a bit awsome !!
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Eric Eric
408 reviews
May 15, 2006
The astronomical clock, or Prague Orloj, situated in the Old Town Square of Prague, might be worth visiting if you go in with the right set of expectations. It is remarkable in the sense that it was built in the 1400's and has a certain amount of technical sophistication that might have been impressive at the time. Hundreds of tourists gather by the clock on the hour to watch for the mechanical animation action that occurs, but the word "action" is an overstatement. To jaded, contemporary eyes like mine, accustomed to the sensory overload of video games, special effects, and computers, the primitive effect is anti-climatic, to say the least. Judging from the collective sigh and nervous laughter of the crowd after the "show" was over, I think it's safe to say that I wasn't the only one who was disappointed. Worth checking out, but don't feel bad if you aren't there on the hour.
Old town astronomical clock.
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Chokk says:
Remember when it was built - SWATCH was not as common in those days :D
Posted on: Sep 08, 2010
mariemak says:
I thought the same thing!
Posted on: Aug 30, 2007
kevinw83 says:
yea this clock was weak!
Posted on: Oct 09, 2006

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