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What Prague visitors want to see most

What Prague visitors want to see the most

Whenever I asked my business colleagues visiting Prague what they would like to see during evening after the end of the meeting, they always answered - "the clock". They meant the Prague Astronomical Clock, the major Prague attraction since the fifteenth century. I thought it would be the skyline of Prague Castle and Charles Bridge as we are so proud of it, but apparently not. 

I keep asking myself why this is the case.


The beauty of the "clock" is probably hidden in its authenticity. It is the oldest medieval orloy in the world which is still in operation. This means it uses the original, 600 hundred years old mechanical engine to rotate and move all the elements of the Astronomical Dial. Only the wooden figures of Apostles and other Clock characters as well as paintings on the facade are not that old - the Calendar Dial paintings come from the 19th Century and the figures were renovated in the 20th Century due to damage during the war.


Second point is the hourly show. The Clock is not just a dial with numbers and rotating hands pointing to them, it is a complete theater. There is the hourly march of the 12 Apostles appearing in the windows above the Dial and waving to the visitors beneath, accompanied by chime of bells. There are presentations of the other Clock characters - the Death rings her bell and bows to the crowd, the Cock sings loud and the Kings wave their hands. And again, the engine powering those movements is 600 years old.


Maybe it is the mysterious appearance. The Clock is featuring four kinds of time in one dial and shows positions of Sun and Moon as well as sunset and sunrise times. If you look at it, you have no clue what all the numbers and rotating elements mean. You have to invest some time to learn and understand what the Clock is actually telling to you. It is mysterious at first sight. And this is probably why it is so attractive.

The Place

Last point is the place itself. I mean the genuine medieval atmosphere of the Old Town Square with its Gothic and Baroque buildings featuring perfectly renovated facades and passages. I mean the unique view which opens to you when you walk out of the Melantrichova Street to the Square: the Old Town Hall in front of you, the Tyn Church surrounded by medieval houses and palaces on the Eastern side, the passages and historical houses to your left. The place takes you directly to the medieval times - you can feel you are part of the history there.