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Astronomical Clock of Prague

Old Town Square and the Astronomical Clock of Prague

Old Town (Staré Mesto) of Prague is the historical centre of the city where you can find worldwide famous Old Town Square (Staromestské námestí) and Astronomical Clock. In addition to these two important places, there are many spots you should see around the Old Town (Staré Mesto)  during your time in Prague. You may find all the information you need to know about the Old Town Square (Staromestské námestí) and Astronomical Clock in this post.

Winter market on the Old Town Square
Winter Market on the Old Town Square (Source).

History of Old Town Square

The hearth of Prague was just a marketplace around the 10th century where is located between the Wenceslas Square and Charles Bridge. During those times nobles were living the Prague Castle on the high hills of the city while most of the people were living around the Old Town (Staré Mesto). In time, Old Town Square gets more important for Prague and became the home of t demonstrations, protests, events and celebration through the Czech history. Also, every year at Christmas and Easter, market still be on there like medieval times. As I mentioned above, you can find most of the important places around the Old Town Square (Staromestské námestí) within the Old Town (Staré Mesto). I gave brief information about a couple of those buildings below.

The Church of Our Lady before Tyn

The gothic church of Prague, The Church of our Lady before Tyn dates back to 11th century. The Church of Our Lady before Tyn is the 2nd important thing in the Old Town Square (Staromestské námestí) after the Astronomical Clock (I will give information about it in a minute). This church was the main church of Prague during the Hussites. The Church of Our Lady before Tyn is located at the easter side of the Old Town Square.

Kinsky Palace

Another important landmark on the square. Kinsky Place is truly amazing with its architecture and of course the colour 🙂 It was built between 1755 and 1765 for Jan Arnost Goltz. Kilian Ignaz Dientzenhofer designed to building Rococo style. The exterior of the Kinsky Palace is coloured with pink and white which is quite amazing. Kinsky Palace belongs to the National Gallery and using as an art museum.

St. Nicholas Church (Staré Město)

On the northern side of the Old Town Square (Staromestské námestí), there is another magnificent building, St. Nicholas Church (Staré Město). St. Nicholas Church (Staré Město) was built between 1732 and 1737 with baroque style. Church’s towers are around 49 meters high from the ground. Since from 1920, St. Nicholas Church (Staré Město) is the main church of the Czech Hussite.

St. Nicholas Church (Staré Město)
The church is dedicated to the St. Nicholas who lived in the 13th century (Source).

Astronomical Clock and Old Town Hall

If you ask someone about the first thing come to her/his mind about Prague, answer probably will be the Astronomical Clock. This clock was installed in 1410 to the Old Town Hall’s tower. Astronomical Clock is the 3rd oldest astronomical clock around the world and its still working precisely enough! I think you should the makers of the 3rd oldest astronomical clock in the world; Mikuláš of Kadaň and Jan Šindel. It is not clear but in 1629 or 1659 wooden statues of the clock were added. Also, figures of the Apostles were added during the extensive repairs between 1787 and 1791. You may see all of them when you visit the Astronomical Clock. Unfornuetly, during the Prague uprising on 8 May 1945 astronomical clock once more suffered heavy damaged. However, after a major effort, it started work once more in 1948.

Figures on the Astronomical Clock

Astronomical Clock have many features that should know a bit about before visiting. Every hour, four-figure are flanking and represent despised or fearsome during the time of the construction. I will write about them from left to right, don’t forget to check each of them when you go there.

  1. A man looking to itself from the mirror: Vanity
  2. A man holding a bag of gold: Greed
  3. A skeleton: Death
  4. A man holding an instrument: Lust

Besides these four important figures, every hour during the twelve statues of Apostle will appear at the doorways just above the clock. You will see them from left to right in this order; James and Peter, Andrew and Matthias, Thaddeus and Philip, Thomas and Paul, John and Simon, Barnabas and Bartholomew.

Zodiacs and Calendars

Astronomical Clock has another important feature. If you take a look to the Astronomical Clock you will a larger black other circle is above another moving inner circle. That inner circle is marked with the signs of zodiacs. You can also see the sun and the moon. Movement of the zodiac circle results from the usage of the stereographic projection of the ecliptic plane using the North pole. This method widely used by most of the astronomical clocks around the world. You will also see a golden star which is showing the position of the vernal equinox and sidereal time. Also, remind that this clock also is a calendar which is just located under the clock. The original calendar was removed from the clock in 1880 and its replica placed there. If you want to see the original calendar you need to go to the Prague City Museum.

Astronomical Clock in Old Town Square
Close view of the Astronomical Clock of Prague (Source).
Features of Astronomical Clock
Features of Astronomical Clock (Source).
Calendar of the Astronomical Clock
Calendar of the Astronomical Clock (Source)

Where is The Old Town Square and Astronomical Clock

The answer is very simple, just in the heart of the Old City of Prague. Old Town Square and Astronomical Clock are almost walking distance from most of central Prague. You just need to walk a couple of minutes from Wenceslas Square or Charles Bridge to the square. If you are coking from Wenceslas Square just follow the route from the Mustek metro station through the Hard Rock Cafe Prague to go to the Old Town Hall and Astronomical Clock. From Charles Bridge, just pass the Clementinum and The National Library of Prague walk a couple of minutes to go there. Staroměstské náměstí is the closest bus station to the Old Town Square where is located just next to The Church of Our Lady before Tyn.


Old Town Square and Astronomical Clock Tickets and Tours

Of course, you don’t need a ticket to visit the Old Town Square or to take a look at the Astronomical Clock to see its hourly show and performance. But if you want to go inside the Old Town Hall or to see the Astronomical Clock Tower Gallery you need a ticket for it. You can use the widgets below to buy your tickets in advance. Prague: Old Town Hall & Astronomical Clock Entrance Ticket and Tour include to see the tower gallery and stunning views of Prague, discovering the mechanism of the Prague Astronomical Clock, multiple languages guided Old Town Hall underground tour and exploring the gothic chapel and staterooms.

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