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Photographer's Note

The astronomical clock of Prague's town hall was built in 1410 by royal clockmaker Mikulas of Kadan and the rector of Prague University Master Jan Sindel. This was the first time in Central Europe that such a large astronomical clock was placed on the facade of a secular building. Fitted with an astronomical dial, it was enhanced with a calendar dial at the end of the 15th century by Jan Ruze.

The clock consists of three parts built in vertical succession: the procession of the apostles (Vojta Sucharda's wood carvings from 1946-47 replacing the originals that were destroyed by gunfire and fire in 1945), the astronomical dial, and Josef Manes' calendar, created in 1866, in the form of a round disc with allegorical portrayals of the twelve months of the year.

Every hour the procession of the apostles takes place; it includes the skeleton, the symbol of death, with one hand ringing a bell and the second overturning an hourglass. This parade also features personages dating back to the 17th century for the skeleton is symbolic of other figures whose time has expired.

In addition to this, there are two allegories of Vice (Avarice and Vanity) that shake their heads in disapproval, as well as the personage of the Turk, which is a reminder of the Turkish invasion of Central Europe in the 16th and 17th centuries.

In the windows of the upper part of the astronomical clock, the twelve apostles gradually make an appearance. After the departure of the last one, the windows close once again. Then the cock at the peak flaps its wings and crows, and the bells resound as the clock strikes the hour.

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Additional Photos by Anna Frosio (Anna--) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 577 W: 87 N: 381] (7801)
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