Oh my goodness. We had heard that we needed to go see the Astronomical Clock in Prague. It has some interesting things that occur on the hour and we were glad we were there to see it. Our tour guide said that this clock was the iPhone of its day. Pretty neat stuff.
One of the most famous of this type of clock is the Old-Town Hall clock in Prague, Czech Republic. It is also known as the Prague Orloj. The central portion was completed in 1410. The four figures are set in motion at the hour, with Death (represented by a skeleton) striking the time. On the hour there is a presentation of statues of the Apostles at the doorways above the clock, with all twelve presented at noon. In 1870 a calendar display was added below the clock.
During World War II the clock was nearly destroyed by Nazi fire. The townspeople are credited with heroic efforts in saving most of the parts. It was gradually renovated till 1948. In 1979 the clock was once more cleaned and renovated. According to local legend the city will suffer if the clock is neglected and its good operation is placed in jeopardy.
Below is a short clip of what it actually does. I highly recommend you watching this one minute video before you invest the time to watch the 10 minute one at the bottom. If you look closely you can see Death ringing his bell while the apostles parade past the windows.
Most people who go to Prague, stand below the clock and see the above magnificant show stand there dumbfounded for a few seconds before uttering the famous line,
“Well, now I can say I’ve seen it.”
(Ask Aimee. She said it. I’ve said it.)
However, if you happened to have been in Prague in 2010, when the clock celebrated its 600th birthday, you would have seen a real spectacle. I happened to run across the following 10 minute video while looking for the above one minute one. We were so impressed that the boys and I watched the video twice. I searched around to find a video not taken on a puke-cam (ie: cell phone) and am pleased with the quality of the one I am posting. However, it loses some of the realness of the original one I watched. The guy holding the cell phone said, as the countdown went from 3, 2, 1…, “Well, that was anticlimactic.” Just a few seconds later he was floored. As was I. I know we all have very little spare time, and watching a 10 minute video of a clock halfway around the world will interest very few of you, but this was a fun video of something I have seen. If you have been to Prague, or plan to go, this video will be interesting. (I am sure Aimee, Cory, Joleen, Tony, and Matt will all like this!)
(Update: Matt and I just watched the non-puke-can version. I have to say, it loses some of its wow-power when you can’t hear the crowd. If you want to watch the puke-cam version its at this site.)