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Orloj - Prague Astronomical Clock
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© Christine Till - CT-Graphics
If you're looking for a highly ornamental, astronomical clock with its original workings intact: Go to Prague.
With glittering hands and a complex series of filigreed wheels, this ornamental timepiece doesn't merely mark the hours. Symbols of the zodiac tell the course of the heavens.
When the bell tolls, the windows above the astronomical clock fly open and mechanical apostles, skeletons, and "sinners" begin a ritualistic dance of destiny.
The calendar is placed at the bottom part of the Orloj. It counts the days and the months. The twelve inner medaillons depict the signs of the zodiac, each stands for a month, while the outer medaillon depict scenes from folk life characteristic of the months. The dial makes a full circle once a year.
Everything in Prague has a story, and so it is with the Old Town clock. Natives claim that when the mechanical figures were created, town officials had the clockmaker blinded so that he would never duplicate his masterpiece. In vengeance, the blind man climbed the tower and threw himself into the works, achieving the dual purpose of killing himself and stopping the clock. The clock remained silent for more than fifty years.
The Orloj was built six centuries ago in 1410. It has been in operation from the beginning to the present time in it's ioriginal form, even the astronomical dial (shaped like an astrolabe on the clock face) with its mechanism. Twice during it's history the City of Prague nearly sold it for scrap metal, the Nazis deliberatly tried to blow it up with artillery, and time has ravaged it unkindly. But after more than 600 years the Orloj keeps on running, with a lot of love, care and respect from the residents of this magical city.
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April 14th, 2012
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