If you’ve been to Prague, you’ve seen it. If you’re planning to come, it is definitely on your list of things to see. But is it worth it? Well, first of all, it doesn’t cost a dime to look at it, but if you’re flying across the globe just for the clock, then maybe it is not worth it. But if you invest 5 minutes of your time to read this article, and maybe watch our video, I promise to you, you’ll love it!
Let’s start by explaining why are people so disappointed. Well, they are usually lured in for a “show” that happens every hour. But “the show” is just a rotation of 12 apostles in the upper part of the clock. So that is nothing special. If you ever saw it, it is usually followed by disappointment in the crowd, and questions “that’s it”? Just to prove my point, it can be heard in this video https://youtu.be/Ouo3ebK7Zxo?t=84
I guess people think that the whole thing will turn, spin, and maybe do a backflip. Well, it does just that! But it doesn’t take 5 seconds for it to happen – it takes a full year. In all honesty, I walked past the clock thousand of times, I even watched the apostles go by, but I could never read it – until now. And let me tell you, it is AMAZING! Once you figure out how to read all the numbers, letters, roman numerals, signs, pictures, etc… it will blow your mind! And it is actually quite simple.
Most of the text explanations I found online were quite confusing and tell you more than is needed (in my opinion) and you really have to stand next to it, to get the idea. So I will teach you at least the very basics of the clock, so next time you’re in front of it you can impress your friends and show off (that’s what I do now) and you will never wait for the full hour to see the apostles because this is MUCH more interesting.
What time is it?
Simple, just find the golden hand. It is pointing to a roman numeral. That’s your standard time (not adjusting to Daylight savings – so in summer it shows -1hr).
There are other 3 times you can read from the clock.
Place, where number 24 (Arabic numeral outer circle) meets a roman numeral, is the time of sunset for the current day. In this picture 24 meets with IV. So 4 pm is your sunset time.
Is it day or night?
That is the easiest to spot on the clock. See the golden sun? Well if it’s in the blue area, it is daytime. If it’s in the reddish, it’s either dawn or dusk, and if it’s in the dark zone, it’s night. (I tried adjusting the picture so you could see it better).
Find the other “ball” on the clock, that’s the Moon. It shows what phase it’s in.
The symbol of the Sun moves up and down on the hand. Its closer to the inner circle in winter (short days), further out in summer (long days).
What day is it?
Look at the bottom circle. It’s the calendar board. The little golden arrow at the very top shows the exact day of the year. Since it is hard to read, as you are far away from the board, the paintings will help you figure out the month. The woman holding up the newborn baby is January (new baby – new year). So you can work your way from there.
Fun fact/expert mode
Every day on the board has a name attached to it. To remember these a saying was created that you could memorize. Based on names and syllables, you could figure out what day is what name day.
Now you can watch our video on the topic, or many others that you find on YouTube. Really hope you can at least read the basics now and will impress your friends once in Prague!
One thought on “The astronomical clock in Prague is boring and totally overrated”
Thanks gor posting this! Now i dont have to play the video at ultra slow speed to listen and learn! Keep up the great work!