Astronomical clock in Prague

The clock was first installed in 1410, making it the third-oldest astronomical clock in the world and the only one still working.

Later, around 1490, the calendar dial was added and clock facade decorated with gothic sculptures. In 1552 it was repaired by Jan Taborský, a clock-master of Orloj, who also wrote a report on the clock where he mentioned Hanuš as the maker of the clock. The Orloj stopped working many times in the centuries after 1552, and was repaired many times. The hall and nearby buildings burned along with the wooden sculptures on the Orloj and the calendar dial face made by Josef Mánes. The machinery was repaired, the wooden Apostles restored by Vojtěch Sucharda, and the Orloj started working again in 1948, but only after significant effort.

Formerly, it was believed that the Orloj was constructed in 1490 by a clockmaster Jan Růže (also called Hanuš); this is now known to be a historical mistake. A legend says that the clockmaker Hanuš was blinded on the order of the Prague Councillors so that he could not repeat his masterpiece; in turn, he broke down the clock, and no one was able to repair it for the next hundred years. According to a local legend the city will suffer if the clock is neglected and its good function is in danger.

by Kateřina Dobrá and Kristýna Navrátilová

Marta Ehmigová,
21. 3. 2012 14:42