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The Oldest and Most Fascinating Clock in the World

Updated on July 1, 2020
Joey Dykes profile image

Joey is an undergrad at the University of Alabama studying History and Economics. He has many interests including the History of Science.

Prague Orlog or the Prague Astrological Clock was built in 1410 and is the world's oldest functioning clock in the world.

Its age is not the only thing however that makes it unique. The Prague Orlog also contains many different ways to calculate times, including a yearly calendar, a map of solar and lunar eclipses, as well as zodiac signs to match the calendar.

This clock also contains 12 statues of Jesus' apostles that rotate every hour on the hour. This mechanism is called the Walk of the Apostles.

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The Astronomical Dial

Like I said previously this clock measures a lot of different things. If you look at the picture below you can see many rings interconnected. The small ring in the center rotates every day and measures the Zodiac signs.

In the very center of this ring is the stationary background. Whatever is in the center of the ring tells you if it is occurring. Dawn, dusk, and twilight are a few of the many things covered on this astrological clock.

The Sun and Moon

The image of the sun on one of the hands of the clock measures more than just the local time. It also measures time in the ancient Czech time as well as tell you when the sun will rise and when the sun will set.

The moon image is a bit more complicated. The moon on the clock measures the lunar phases and the sculpture of the moon will adjust itself according to the actual lunar phase.

The moon symbol will also accurately depict lunar eclipses when the images of the moon and images of the sun meet.

Animated Statues

There are many statues that surround the clock face. The main four being the two that flank the clock on the left and the right.

Starting from the very left are depictions of Vanity, Greed, Death, and Lust.

Every hour the skeleton, or the figure of death, rings the bell in his hands and the other 3 depictions shake their head. This is to show how the sins do not want to meet there demise.

Above the calendar, the face is two windows. When the bell tolls and the hour strikes the windows open up the reveals statues of the 12 apostles of Jesus Christ.

Every hour two figures are shown and they rotate out throughout the day.

The 12 statues rotate in this order; James and Peter, Andrew and Matthias, Thaddeus and Philip, Thomas and Paul, John and Simon, Barnabas, and then Bartholomew.

Calander

Although the calendar face is not original, it was replaced in 1880, it is still an exact replica of the real thing. It worlds the same way too.

Each image represents a month in the 12 month calendar year with the days being written on the circle on the outer edge.

Every holiday is also permanently written within the dates. Each day also has a saint assigned to it.

Would you like to visit the Prague Orloj

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The Prague Astronomical Clock is the oldest and most complex and beautiful clock in the world. With all of its intricacies and little details, I am surprised that it isn't one of the greatest wonders of the world.

© 2020 Joey Dykes

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    • Guckenberger profile image

      Alexander James Guckenberger 

      12 months ago from Maryland, United States of America

      I want to visit this clock.

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