The hourly show put on by this early 15th-century masterpiece on the Old Town Hall is a must-see event that draws the crowds.
Mounted on the southern wall of the Old Town City Hall is one of the oldest working astronomical clocks in the world: Pražský Orloj, the Astronomical Clock. Established in 1410, it has often stopped working and its mechanism has been repaired many times. Luckily it was spared from destruction and has even been upgraded with symbolic figures, so it is still ticking away the minutes today. Better still, it now comes to life every hour!
Make your way to the Old Town Square in time for the famous clock ceremony. Every hour, small doors open and animated figures appear and sculptures begin to move on the clock. Death, holding its hourglass, seems eager for the change of the hour. The other three sculptures represent vanity, greed and pleasure. The 12 wooden figures represent the apostles. When the golden cockerel moves its wings, a bell chimes the hour.
Find a café with a good view of the clock and sit back with a drink to watch the spectacle. Observe that the astronomical dial is the oldest part and underneath it is the calendar dial. In addition to keeping the time these dials display a range of details. See the position of the sun and the moon, or the intricate medallions that depict each month below it. You can even see what the current star sign is on the zodiacal ring.
Climb to the top of the clock’s tower, within the Old Town Hall, to experience one of the best views in Prague. Look across the Old Town and the Vltava River to the Prague Castle upon its hill.
Visiting the Astronomical Clock is free of charge, however, there is a small fee to climb the tower. Due to the large crowds that form for the hourly ceremonies it is recommended you visit the clock early in the morning.
The Astronomical Clock is located in the Old Town Square and can be reached by both tram and metro.