Monday, December 5, 2016

Monday Exposure: Prague's astronomical clock

Prague astronomical clock (Orloj)
Prague's astronomical clock, the Orloj, puts on quite a show every day. The wondrous main clock, with four moving parts, was completed in 1410. Later generations have added moving figures, a "Walk of the Apostles," a crowing rooster, and a rotating calendar.

                    1          golden cockerel who crows at the top of the hour

                    1          bell in the clock tower which peals the hours

                    3          sets of mechanisms: the astronomical clock, the calendar clock, and the moving statues

                    3          celestial movements recorded: the Sun, the moon, and the ecliptic revolution of stars

                    4          parts of the astronomical clock which rotate: Sun, moon, outer ring of time, and Zodiacal ring

                    4          moving figures: Vanity (with mirror), a Jewish moneylender (with bag of gold), Death (as skeleton
                                with hourglass and ringing a bell), and a Turk (representing hedonism)

                    4          non-moving figures: a Chronicler, an Angel, an Astronomer, and a Philosopher

                  12          statues of apostles who parade at the doors above the clock every hour

                  12          signs of the Zodiac on the Zodiacal ring

                  12          months on the calendar dial

                  23.93     hours for a Sidereal day (i.e., time reckoned from the Earth's motion relative to the stars)

                  24          hours on the outer ring, with the "24" indicating the time of sunset (Old Czech time)

                  24          hours in Roman numerals (I–XII repeated twice) indicating modern Central European Time

                  24          hours in "Babylonian" time, with twelve hours for daylight (indicated by the curved blue lines on
                                the central dial) and twelve hours for nighttime, the length of each of the hours changing
                                depending upon the time of year

                  28          days of the lunar phase displayed on the clock's moon

                150          years the clock has been continuously repaired and regularly functioning (since 1866)

                365          days listed on the calendar dial, with the current day at the top

                606          years of age for the central astronomical clock

              1490          probable year the calendar was added

              1572          probable year of finish of repairs and perfection of mechanisms which remain largely intact and
                                in use today

              1948          year the clock was reconstructed after damage in World War II

Prague's astronomical clock face
Using the Roman numerals, you can see that I took this photo around 6:45 am. (I work hard for you people.) Using the curved inner sections with the Arabic numerals, you can see that this was the second hour of daylight. The four statues around the clock are, from left to right: Vanity; a Jewish moneylender; Death; and a hedonist Turk.
Prague's astronomical clock calendar face
The calendar face has a rotating outer band with 365 days of the year. Meanwhile, the inner golden circle rotates for the months of the year. While the Astronomer and Philosopher stand to the right, the Chronicler and Angel had been taken away for repair and cleaning.
Apostles above the Prague astronomical clock
Two of the Apostles parade by, looking rather warlike with spear and sword.

Death and the Turk on Prague's astronomical clock
Death turns his hourglass while the Turk strums his lute.
Crowds gather at the Prague astronomical clock
Every hour the crowds gather to watch the clock's show.

Prague's astronomical clock

Like this? You might want to check out some further Monday Exposure posts:

Lysicrates Monument in Athens

Monday Exposure: Lysicrates Monument

Old Stirling Bridge in Scotland

Monday Exposure: Stirling Bridge

Michelangelo's Pietà in St. Peter's Basilica, Vatican City

Monday Exposure: Michelangelo's Pietà