“Time… and time again” was featured (7 features) in the groups
European Everyday Life
Alphabet Soup (twice… letters A and T)
and in Time to watch clocks (twice… the second time: 10 November 2009)
237 views (17 November 2009)
Photo taken in Prague, the capital city of the Czech Republic, in March 2006, with a Canon PowerShot S70 camera.
The Prague Astronomical Clock or Prague Orloj (Czech: Pražský orloj, [praʒski: ɔrlɔi]) is a medieval astronomical clock located in Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic, at 50°5′13.23″N 14°25′15.30″E / 50.0870083, 14.4209167. The Orloj is mounted on the southern wall of Old Town City Hall in the Old Town Square and is a popular tourist attraction.
The Orloj is composed of three main components: the astronomical dial, representing the position of the Sun and Moon in the sky and displaying various astronomical details; “The Walk of the Apostles”, a clockwork hourly show of figures of the Apostles and other moving sculptures; and a calendar dial with medallions representing the months.
The four figures flanking the clock are set in motion at the hour, these represent four things that were despised at the time of the clock’s making. From left to right in the photograph, the first is Vanity, represented by a figure admiring himself in a mirror. Next, a Jew holding a bag of gold represents greed or usury. Across the clock stands Death, a skeleton that strikes the time upon the hour. Finally, the infidel Turk wears the Turban.
The oldest part of the Orloj, the mechanical clock and astronomical dial, dates back to 1410 when it was made by clockmaker Mikuláš of Kadaň and Jan Šindel, the latter a professor.
Later, presumably around 1490, the calendar dial was added and clock facade decorated with gothic sculptures.
In 1552 it was repaired by Jan Taborský, clock-master of Orloj, who also wrote a report on the clock where he mentioned Hanuš as maker of the clock. This was a mistake, and was corrected during the 20th century.
The Orloj stopped working many times in the centuries after 1552, and was repaired many times. Some speculate that the original maker’s eyes were gouged out in order to prevent him from making a similar clock for another country. After this he died touching the clock, at which point the clock stopped working and remained unrepairable for a number of years. In the 17th century moving statues were added, and figures of the Apostles were added after major repair in 1865-1866.
The Orloj suffered heavy damage on May 7 and especially May 8, 1945, during the Prague Uprising, when Germans directed incendiary fire from several armored vehicles and an anti-aircraft gun to the south-west side of the Old Town Square in an effort to silence the provocative broadcasting initiated by the National Committee on May 5. 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.