Old Town Hall in Prague
Old Town Hall has been a dominating feature of Old Town Square for centuries. Thanks to the remarkable Astronomical Clock and the tower, with its view of the historic centre of Prague, Old Town Hall is amongst the most-visited sites in the city. The construction of this Gothic building was started in 1338.
Tour of the historic interiors of the Old Town Hall
The core of the town hall was a Gothic corner house, to which the Prague burghers added an extra floor with council hall and a 70 m high tower with viewing-gallery. The town hall achieved its current form over centuries. In the cellars, visitors can view the foundations of Romanesque houses, while the dominant style of the interiors is Gothic. The building’s original Gothic vaulting, original hall with painted wooden ceiling beams and rare Gothic chapel and oriel window, the work of architect Petr Parléř, the builder of the Cathedral of St. Vitus at Prague Castle, all form part of the tour. Also worthy of attention is the three-part Renaissance window in the wedding-hall, with its inscription Praga caput regni (Prague, Head of the Kingdom) and the coat-of-arms of Old Town and the Gothic Cross Corridor, which is used as an exhibition space.
The Astronomical Clock: technical wonder of the Middle Ages
All year round, and every day from nine in the morning till nine at night, visitors to Prague can admire the legendary Old Town Astronomical Clock on the Old Town Hall, with its fascinating procession of the Twelve Apostles. This technical wonder has already enjoyed 600 years of existence, and for centuries has flawlessly showed not only the date and time, but also the position of the Sun, phase of the Moon, astronomical cycles and feast days of the Christian calendar. Together with the Apostles, the sides of the clock also come alive with other figures. The enchanting spectacle is accompanied by a skeleton pulling on a string, a Turk shaking its head, a figure of Vanity looking itself in the mirror and a figure of Miserliness shaking a money-bag. At the end the windows close, a cock crows and the tower bells start to strike the hour.