Prague on time


Prague, probably one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, lost one of its most emblematic symbols last January, the astronomical clock. A disappointment for the many unannounced tourists of the vast renovation project that had been undertaken. The announcement comes from

Prague’s astronomical clock, leaning against the old city hall, has been making hordes of tourists and aesthetes, increasingly Asian, swoon for ages. And they are quite right so much this listed monument has no equal elsewhere.

Since 1410, at a time when time was not counted as it is today, « Orloj » as it is called here, rhythms the life of the Prague people through these different counting circles of time that passes and its figures appearing every hour.

The 12 apostles take turns at the crow of the rooster when the hour rings right in front of an amazed crowd in tight rows when the big watch hand reaches the precise time from 9am to 9pm.

At the top, two windows then open where, in a series of 6 on either side, the apostles come to greet. It takes a fine astronomer to understand all the subtleties of the clock but it is its charm, its authenticity and quite simply its elegance that aspire to it at the hour approaching the flow of tourists.

But at the beginning of January, a vast renovation project was therefore launched. For then six months according to the most optimistic. Since then, a video screen respected the time appointments of the past by broadcasting a film instead. And you could continue to climb to the top of the tower for an exceptional view of the Prague centre. A rumour has long circulated that the clock will be restarted on August 28. But nothing has changed on that date.

To reassure, the city authorities then proclaimed a return for no later than 28 October, national holiday and in 2018, the centenary of the country’s creation… the former Czechoslovakia.

It is therefore one month in advance, on September 28, the day of the other national holiday in honour of the nation’s patron saint, Saint-Venceslas (also patron saint of beer makers!) that we will once again be able to be thrilled by the clock.

On that day at 5:45 p.m., the veil will fall to finally show the restoration completed and at 6 p.m., it will be the first return of the ritual of the passage of the apostles. Then at 8pm, 9pm and 10pm, video mapping projections will take place on the facade.

The least you can do is to be present at the exact time, because of the clock.

Yves Pouchard

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