Prague Astronomical Clock [360-Degree Panorama]

As the top of the hour nears in Prague, crowds gather in front of the Astronomical Clock on Staroměstské náměstí (Old Town Square) and wait for the show to begin — all in a ritual that’s happened almost daily for six hundred years of the clock’s life.

The first attention goes to the twelve apostles that emerge from the little window at the top. They go around in a circle as if to bless the hour. One level down in the zodiac section of the clock the skeleton rings the bell to measure our lifetime, indicating that we have one less hour of life. Around the skeleton, other figures representing the sins of vanity, greed and extravagance shake their heads, a humorous indication that they are not ready to go, ready to die.

But our personal favorite part of the Prague astronomical clock show occurs at the very end.

(SPOILERS) The golden rooster, who presides over the whole thing from his his roost, finishes off the show with a mighty crow. A new hour is upon us, providing hope, and for the crowd below, a moment of levity and laughter.

Not a bad way to start the hour.

But Prague’s Old Town Square is much more than its Astronomical Clock. Open up the panorama below to take in the atmosphere in and around the Old Town Hall, with Tyn Church in the distance and an almost-too-perfect melange of medieval buildings all around you.

Hint #1: And if the crowds around the clock get to be too much for you, head up to the rooftop terrace of U Prince for a cocktail (better than their food, wine, or beer options) to take in the scene from above.

Panorama: Prague Astronomical Clock on Old Town Square

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  1. says

    @Chanel: Enjoy your visit this summer to Prague! This tends to be high season so be sure to wake up early to get out on Charles Bridge before the crowds.

    @Rebecca: It is a beautiful place, isn’t it? In the 5 years we lived there we never tired of these views.

  2. says

    One of our most favourite places in Prague! I could pass by the clock every day when I was living there and never had enough of it :)
    The restaurant U Prince is indeed good place for a nice view, especially at the sunset. Also, I can highly recommend to go up the tower of the clock. Amazing view on the town and is really funny to watch all those people who are gathering below you to watch the ‘hour ritual” :)

  3. says

    @Stef: Congrats on your upcoming trip to Prague. If you’re looking for some tips on what to do in the city, what to avoid (tourist schlock) and where to eat and drink, check out:

    @Ivana: When we lived in Prague we would often try to avoid the big crowds gathered around the clock on the hour, but never tired of admiring the clock itself. Such intricate detail.

    Yes, going up into the tower does provide a great view. That square is pretty incredible.

  4. says

    I am a lone traveler and that clock strikes me the gold. I should be soon planning to count my hours for visiting Old Town Square. Even searched for a video in Youtube after I checked your wonderful post.

  5. says

    Prague was amazing when I went, opened me to the wonder of eastern Europe. I found it dark and intriguing and so much to explore. The walls covered in thick posters ended up becoming part of an art work I did!

  6. says

    @Sue: Glad we could pique your interest about Prague and the clock :)

    Enjoy your trip. Be sure to check Audrey’s comment above with our Prague quick guide to some authentic eating and visiting options. Enjoy!

    @Nic: To us, too. We lived in Prague for five years. At times bright, at times dark as you said. Rich in history and remarkably well-preserved architecture.

    As for the posters, we completely understand. There’s a lot to inspire works of art, mixed media and otherwise, in Prague.

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