Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Tick Tock

One final Prague write-up because I never mentioned one of the city's most famous sites: the Town Hall Astronomical Clock. This thing is quite a feat. The clock dates back to the early 1400s and is the oldest one still working in the world. This being medieval times, the clock section shows the earth at the center of the sun and the moon. Oddly to me, the clock is not supposed to tell exact time, but rather, show the orbits of the sun and moon around the earth as well as the sun and moon moving through the signs of the Zodiac. The clock actually indicates time in three different ways, one using a 24 hour clock based on the setting sun, one indicating time as we know it today, and a third showing twelve parts of the visible part of the sky, which is called Babylonian time. The bottom circle is a calendar (this part was added in the 1800s). So all that's sort of interesting, but the best part happens at the top of every hour, when the statues on the side of the clock come to life. The skeleton inverts an hourglass and pulls on a rope. Beautiful wooden sculptures of 11 of the Apostles of Jesus (plus Paul to make 12) pass by and look out the windows, and after they're finished, the clock chimes the hour. For our visit, the chiming clock was followed by a trumpeter at the top of the tower playing a tune on all four sides while dressed in a medieval costume. A fun way to ring in another hour of life.

No comments:

Post a Comment