Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Video: 600th Birthday Celebration for Prague's Astronomical Clock

The Orloj astronomical clock
The famous astronomical clock in Prague, Czech Republic, the Orloj, is celebrating it's 600th birthday.  Constructed in 1410, the clock can be found on the Old Town City Hall in Old Town Square.

To celebrate it's 600th birthday visitors to Old Town Square were entertained with a 10 minute large-screen video of special effects, and visuals of some of the history that the clock has lived through that were projected directly onto the face of Orloj.

Through careful measurements, the video projection managed to create strange and truly amazing optical illusions: such as the outer walls of the clock bulging outward, or opening up to reveal the clockwork mechanisms inside, or cascades of rain pouring down off of the eves of the clock..

For the video and a little bit more on the Orloj clock follow the jump.

The Orloj is composed of three main components: the astronomical dial, "The Walk of the Apostles", and a calendar dial.

The astronomical dial is a mechanical astrolabe and is capable of not only telling the time, but keeping track of the position of the sun, moon, zodiac symbols, and equinoxes.  It is essentially a very primitive planetarium.

The calendar on the Orloj
"The Walk of the Apostles" is part of a series of animated figures displayed on the clock. All the figures animate at the top of the hour, though four are visible throughout the day.  The four figures displayed on either side of the clock face represent things that were despised at the time of the clock's making: Vanity, represented by a figure admiring himself in a mirror; Greed, represented by a stereotypical Jew holding a bag of gold; Death, which is a skeleton; and lastly the infidel Turk.  At the top of the hour doors above the clock open and there is an animated parade of the twelve Apostles.

 The calendar face was added to the Orloj in 1870 is displayed beneath the clock.


  1. good info, didn't know must of this - really is a beautiful clock

  2. i wonder how much work it has needed over the years to continue functioning?

  3. What a beautful clock, I love the look of shiny cogs and gears


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