Prague’s Astronomical clock, Orloj, celebrates its 605. anniversary

Astronomical dial, Orloj, Prague, The Czech Republic
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That’s true, the most famous clock in the world, Orloj, celebrates its 605. anniversary today! Prague’s Astronomical clock is without a doubt one of the extraordinary sights of the Czech capital, admired by millions of tourists every single year.

Astronomical Clock itself is an amazing magical place. Not only is this the oldest working clock in the world with much of the original mechanics from the 15th century, it is also unique for its location on a secular building.

Astronomical Clock, Orloj, Prague, The Czech Republic
Astronomical Clock, Orloj, Prague, The Czech Republic

Something from Orloj’s history

Orloj was designed by Imperial clockmaker Mikuláš of Kadaň and was first installed on the Old Town Hall Tower already in 1402, however the first mention comes from the October 9, 1410, when it was completed.

In 1490 the clock was maintained by clockmaker Jan Růže, who improved the clock machine and added new calendar plate, and also the first movable statue – figure of Death.

Calendar plate, Astronomical Clock, Orloj, Prague, The Czech Republic
Calendar plate, Astronomical Clock, Orloj, Prague, The Czech Republic

However over time the clock suffered even some bad times during its long life. At the end of the 18th century, when the town hall on which it is installed was under reconstruction, Orloj was supposed to be completely removed and destroyed.

Fortunately this never happened and later in the second half of the 19th century was finally reconstructed. Now you can see this old grandpa in its best condition ever, right in the most visited square in Prague – Old Town Square. So Happy birthday, Orloj! 🙂

Astronomical dial, Orloj, Prague, The Czech Republic
Astronomical dial, Orloj, Prague, The Czech Republic

And who are these figures on Orloj?

You can find 4 pairs of wooden sculptures on Orloj. The upper 4 sculptures are movable, while these at the bottom are not.

Figure of Death and figure representing Lust, Astronomical Clock, Orloj, Prague, the Czech Republic
Figure of Death and figure representing Lust (movable)

Figures representing Vanity (on the left) and Greed or Usury (on the right), Astronomical Clock, Orloj, Prague, the Czech Republic
Movable figures representing Vanity (on the left) and Greed or Usury (on the right)

Sculptures of the Philosopher and Archangel Michael, Astronomical Clock, Orloj, Prague, The Czech Republic
Sculptures of the Philosopher and Archangel Michael (not movable)

Sculptures of the Astronomer and the Chronicler, Astronomical Clock, Orloj, Prague, The Czech Republic
Sculptures of the Astronomer and the Chronicler (not movable)

And finally there are 12 apostles moving in the windows on Orloj’s upper part, between the statue of archangel and The Cockerel, who moves at the end and finishes the whole show.

Windows where 12th apostles move every hour, Astronomical Clock, Orloj, Prague, The Czech Republic
Windows where 12 apostles move every hour with The Cockerel above them.

Orloj is not the only attraction of Prague, if you are coming to this city, you should also read another article about 45 Things to do in Prague – Best Places to Visit! and if you are not coming, you should read this as well, so that you know what you are missing. 🙂

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Julius

I am someone who left his open-spaced cubicle after spending there 8 years of his life. Someone who started to live more outside! :) I am in travel blogging since 2010 and with Traveltipy I am going to conquer the world :)

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14 Responses

  1. I would love to visit someday. One of my friends lives there and swears it is one of the best places on earth. It is amazing the technology of the clock, so gorgeous.

  2. 605. anniversary! Wow! Clock looks incredible and also I heard really a lot of good things about Prague and would like to visit it soon 🙂

  3. Jenna says:

    I didn’t realize how old this clock was! We really enjoyed watching the little show, but it was even more entertaining to watch the huge crowds that gathered! Thanks for sharing all this info about the clock–super interesting to learn more about it!

  4. Meg Jerrard says:

    Brings back some wonderful memories – I remember taking a walking tour of Prague and we spent probably about 20 minutes in front of this clock learning about the history and the different sybolisms. One of the most iconic landmarks of Eastern Europe!

  5. This is similar to the Zytglogge in Bern, Switzerland and with just as fascinating a history. Nice, Prague is on our long list.

  6. Wow! I’m so going to check this out when I go to Prague, I LOVE history stuff like this. Imagine a clock that has survived since the 15th century, that’s just incredible! I never even knew it was there, thank you! 🙂

  7. Mar says:

    Such a fascinating sight right?

  8. Marie says:

    Gorgeous clock. How unique, it was a wonderful post on something that most people know very little about. Not originally on my travel bucket list, Prague is moving up slowly but surely!

  9. It is so crazy how much work goes into the architecture in Europe. It is so detailed and the stained glass stunning

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