Located on the side of Old Town Hall within Old Town Square, at Staroměstské nám. 1, 110 00 Josefov, Czechia, the Prague Astronomical Clock is a must-see for anyone visiting the city. Not only is it beautiful, but it’s also incredibly historic, as it’s the oldest working clock still in operation – ✨anywhere in the world✨.
Built in 1410 by clockmaker Mikuláš of Kadaň and Jan Šindel, a professor of mathematics and astronomer from Charles University, the clock is now 612 years old, making it the 3rd oldest astronomical clock still in existence (and oldest working one). Unfortunately, the clock did suffer damage in 1945 during WWII, when the Nazis fired through Old Town Square while trying to stifle a citizen uprising. It was restored by 1948, renovated in 2005, and renovated one last time in 2018.
Known as The Orloj in Czech, the clock is one of the main attractions to those visiting Prague. On the top of every hour a skeleton meant to represent Death will ring a bell and strike the time, while the apostles move behind him. Known as “The Walk of the Apostles”, it gets extremely crowded around the clock at this time. Pick pockets (Attenzione Pickpocket!) like to strike (pun intended), as everyone is crowded very close together and all eyes are on the clock. So, please remain vigilant. I’d also strongly recommend keeping your bag in front of you, with your hand on it.
As mentioned, the clock chimes at the top of every hour, but best to get there at least 10 minutes prior. It starts to get crowded very quickly, so if you want a decent view of the skeleton and apostles, you have to secure a spot. Also, it doesn’t start chiming right on the hour. It started to go off around the 55-minute mark while we were there.
You can purchase tickets for Old Town Hall and to walk to the top of the astronomical clock for Kč225.00 or about $9.19 USD. It is open daily from 9am to 9pm (on Mondays it opens at 11am).
Overall, if you ever visit the amazing city of Prague, Czech Republic (The Prague Blog (Czech Republic).), you must check out the centuries old astronomical clock. One of the few things to survive time relatively unscathed and unchanged, it’s amazing to view something so old and historic. Just make sure to be there near the top of the hour – and watch your bag!