Prague astronomical clock: Orloj


Active member
Prague astronomical clock ‘Orloj’

I came across this via a contact on LinkedIn, that quality build and date of it immediately pricked up my ears; It reminded me of the KD's Dolls post:


According to wiki:

‘The clock was first installed in 1410, making it the third-oldest astronomical clock in the world and the oldest one still operating’

"Jeho prapradědeček oživil orloj, on v tradici pokračuje". 1 October 2007.

Design by someone called, Mikuláš of Kadaň, (of whom we have no further details of his training or other accomplishments other than he collaborated with Jan Ondrejuv, who was a mathematician and astrologist, although there is no proof of any of this.)

A Story About the Astronomical Clock in Old Town Square (Příběh Pražského orloje) |

The clock was then supposedly rebuilt, or mended by this guy Hanus;

‘The astrolabe mechanisms they have built over 600 years ago are still functional. 80 years later, the legendary master Hanus rebuild the clock and as legend has it, the Councillors had him blinded, so that he would not ever manage to build another instrument greater than the Orloj in Prague’

So no one else could recreate this clock if they blinded him, sounds legit yeh?

Source: The Astronomical Clock - can you guess what time it is? |

This source, claims that when the clock stopped in the 1800s, no one knew how to repair it, and they considered replacing it!

Six centuries later and still ticking in Prague: The world's oldest astronomical clock in use

So far all of these sources sound like fairy tails to me.

The clock however serves more purpose than telling the time for Prague, it also indicated the time for:
  1. Old Bohemian Time
  2. Babylonian Time
  3. Central European or Old German Time
  4. Star Time
  5. The Tropic of Cancer
  6. Calendar Dial
  7. The Zodiacal Ring
  8. The Golden Hand
  9. The Tropic of Capricorn
  10. The Astrolabe
  11. The Moon (Moon Hand or Pointer)
  12. The Sun
Source: How to Read Time

‘When the clock strikes the hour, the procession of the Twelve Apostles, Chrisťs disciples, and other figures on the astronomical clock are set in motion. The apostles appear in the windows of the clock, where each can be recognized by his attribute. Looking below, you can see for yourself who is who in the parade, which order they come out, and which attribute each carries’

Source: Apostles Figures

This clock is simply a work of extreme genius (even if added to over the years) which if we believe history, was created whilst others are using sticks in the ground and hourglasses.

Some other Astrological clocks? Wiki: Astronomical clock - Wikipedia

Wiki: ‘In the 11th century, the Song dynasty Chinese horologist, mechanical engineer, and astronomer Su Song created a water-driven astronomical clock for his clock-tower of Kaifeng City’

Wiki goes on with examples, without details of the designers and much detail about the tech, and to be honest, much of the ‘evidence’ is, perhaps, and sounds like speculation to me, have a read for yourselves. It does however have much details about how the clock works, which I find suspect.

Wiki: Clock - Wikipedia

More clocks: For example, there is a record that in 1176 Sens Cathedral installed a ‘horologe[17] but the mechanism used is unknown (Speculation, guess work, and unknown.)

Some quick further research into the history of clocks:

Local histories website:

‘The mechanical clock was invented in the Middle Ages. Who made the first one and when is not known (Speculation then) but it was around the end of the 13th century (More speculation)’

In 1309 a clock is recorded in a church in Italy (What clock?) The oldest working clock in the world is in Salisbury Cathedral. It dates from 1386 and it has no dial. Instead it chimes the hours. Our word clock comes from the Latin word for bell 'clocca'.

It goes on: ‘Early clocks were normally in churches and they were very heavy because they were worked by weights. However about 1450 (More speculation) the coiled spring was invented and it made possible portable clocks. The first watches were made in 1510. In the 16th century some rich people had clocks in their homes but they were very expensive’ Again, this just sounds like they are making history up!

This bit:

‘Early clocks were not very accurate but in 1657 Christiaan Huygens introduced the pendulum. Clocks became far more accurate though they were still set using sundials'

Source A History of Clocks

A general conclusion? Says who, where is any proof of this?

‘Research in 2011 and 2012 led an expert (expert how?) group of researchers to posit that European astronomical clocks are descended from the technology of the Antikythera mechanism' Oh right, that must be it then!

Source NOVA: "Ancient Computer".

So according to this history, clocks were rubbish until the late 1600s. However this one in Prague, made in 1210 is this exceptional and full of intricate mechanics, when most others are still using sundials, hourglasses and water power? I am sure many of you are aware of this ancient computer, but given our understanding of the skewing of history, perhaps both this machine and these clocks are more closely related in date, and of course are much more recent than they are suggested to be?

Something is not right here.

Let us take a quick look at the building which the clock is housed: Does any of the architecture look familiar? (Tartary?) I am not a building specialist, but much of the of the building looks familiar to me. Considering the quality of the clock the quality of building seems out of place. Perhaps some of you more apt folks can place the building, time and date etc? I do come across references to Gothic and Steam punk, which I am noticing a lot when we talk about antiquity. I realise this building has been heavily repaired, but it appears not so well especially when compared to the etchings below. Lots of coats of arms, and things on the building however.


Also, the splendour of the interior is not matched by the facade



I am sure there are many people here more qualified than me to comment of the decor/ symbolism etc.

Waki: ‘In 1338 the councillors of the Old Town bought a large patrician house from the Volflin family and adapted it for their purposes. Over the following centuries the original Town Hall building largely disappeared as a result of renovations and expansion of the building; one external remnant of the original structure still visible today is the Gothic stone portal with mouldings on the western side of the building’

‘The tower, which was the highest in the city in the Middle Ages, was completed in 1364, and has been largely unchanged since then’

So, according to wakipedia, the town hall is a miss match of old and extended, except the tower.


By the looks of this image, purported to be from 1945, show the clock pretty much destroyed



Destroyed to this extent, yet rebuilt to the exact specification, with some additions? It seems to me that there is much of the history of the clock which is known to some, which for whatever reason cannot be made public.

This website: Claims claims that there is uncertainty as to when the apostles were actually added to the clock.

As usual with these finds, lots and lots of poor and misinformation, because, Historians have no clue, and simply surmise and utilise assumptions.

In summary TS:

I admit this is all a relatively quick bit of research.

But, when you put all of this ‘history’ together at best it reads like hearsay, old wives’ tales, stories past down, very little actual provable facts. There is zero actual proof that this clock is anymore than a few hundred years old. In the mid-1800s no one knew how to get the clock working, yet in 1945 it is completely rebuilt? It would also be possible that the clock we see now, is nothing like what the original ‘1410’ clock may have appeared.

The earliest supposed 'Photograph' of any kind I can find online of the clock is this, purported to be from the 1860. The clock is heavily damaged, from war? What war could have done this in 1860 or prior, the Revolution?



I did find this etching, purported to be from 1914



And this one, from 1897



And then this one, supposedly from 1743



You would think a device of such magnificence and importance would have been heavily depicted by painters, artists and photographers over the millennia, but it appears not at least form a quick internet search, perhaps it is depicted in books etc not online.

I do not believe this clock (and the few others) were imagined and then built out of nowhere, by singular people, whilst others were still using a stick in the ground, or some sand in a glass jar. The messy, hearsay, the murky history of it also speaks volumes as to its hidden origin.

I would be interested to hear your thoughts, cheers.
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Ice Nine

Well-known member
What a clock! This clock didn't just spring to life out of the fruitful imagination of one man. It's a leftover.

The picture from 1945, there is a brick wall covering the bottom half of the clock and it doesn't look like it just got slapped up. Kinda weird. (what isn't anymore)

Oh and I checked out The Church of Our Lady before Tyn . Very similar in style. and the spires! Crikey! Prague's is an interesting place.



New member
Time, not enough time. We seek to control it but we can only direct and facilitate it. It has its own destination where we may not go, yet. Maybe never. Hope for the resurrection which supplants time.
In the meantime, we have such as this.