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PRAGUE Presentation 3F

Tuesday, 6 th march 2018

Tuesday, 6 th march 2018 Visita del quartiere Stare Mesto (Città Vecchia): Il municipio, le chiese, la Torre delle polveri. The Tower of the astronomical clock One of the wonders of the world stands out in the Prague sky: it is the tower of the old town hall, an architectural masterpiece embellished by the famous astronomical clock, one of the oldest in the world, now a symbol of the Czech capital. Visitors will find remarkable namely the astronomical clock on the Southern side of the town hall’s tower. It was built in 1410 by Mikuláš of Kadaň, and perfected at the end of the 15th century by master Hanuš of Růže. According to a legend by Jirásek, the astronomical clock was built by master Hanuš. After the completion, Prague councilmen had him blinded in order to prevent him from building a copy. Master Hanuš took his revenge by stopping the astronomical clock. In fact, the astronomical clock really did stop in 1865, and there was a risk that it would be removed. Luckily, Prague watchmaker Ludvík Hainz managed to repair the mechanism, and he became its caretaker together with his descendants. The 2

astronomical clock is made up of three parts: at the top, there are mechanical figures. Every hour from 9.00 a.m. to 11.00 p.m., 12 apostles, each carrying his attribute, appear in the two windows below the small roof. In the left window, viewed from the visitors, the first to appear is St. Peter with a key, then St. Matthew with an axe, St. John with a chalice, St. Andrew with an X-shaped cross, St. Philip with a cross. St. James with a washboard and in the right window, it is St. Paul with a book, St. Thomas with a spear, St. Simon with a saw, St. Thaddeus with boards, St. Bartholomew with leather, St. Barnabas with a scroll. During the fire in May 1945, all the figures on the astronomical clock made by Eduard Veselý were destroyed. The original figures from the early-Baroque period have been partially preserved in the Museum of the Capital City of Prague. There were replaced by wooden statues of apostles made by woodcarver Vojtěch Sucharda in 1948. Together with the movement of the apostles, also the figures on the sides of the astronomical clock start to move. The skeleton pulls the rope and starts the apostles’ walk in the two windows via ringing. He nods towards the Turk - allegory of Lust, who refuses by turning his head. The Miser - allegory of Miserliness - nods his head with a pouch in his hand and shakes his cane in a threat, and the Vain man next to him - allegory of Vanity - looks at himself in the mirror. The Rooster in the window crows when the windows close - he awakens for another hour of life and the clock on the tower starts to chime. There are immovable wooden figures installed at the level of the calendar desk, named Philosopher - allegory of Philosophy - with a pen feather, Astronomer - allegory of Astronomy - with a telescope, Chronicler - allegory of Rhetorics - with a book, and Archangel Michael with a fiery sword. The astronomical clock is divided into a calendar with a zodiac and a clock. The calendar desk with allegories of months has been created in 1865 by Josef Mánes. Its original is deposited in the Museum of the Capital City of Prague, and there is a copy by Bohumil Číla from 1946 on the town hall. Besides several different times, the clock also displays astronomical data. The movement of the figures is formed similarly to that of a cuckoo bird in the cuckoo clock. The mechanism is placed in the town hall’s wall in a stone spire to which there are two keys: one for the caretaker, the second stored at the magistrate. There are lots of functional original 3

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