Located in the city centre is the Old Town Square, one of two main squares in the area. The focal point in the area is an almost 70 meter (about 230 feet) clock tower that looks over the square with magnificence and a curious kind of power. This clock tower is located on the top of the Old Town Hall. The history behind the Old Town Hall is very interesting and one of a kind.
The Old Town Square itself is a thing of wonderment. Everywhere you look you see ancient buildings and gorgeous churches. You really feel as if you have stepped back in time a few centuries. This square boasts the significance of being one of the most beautiful historical sites in all of Europe. It started out as a central marketplace for Prague. Each century has left its mark on the square with a different style of architecture. You will see everything from Renaissance, to Baroque, to Gothic styles of buildings. These sites will surely take your breath away.
In the center of the square, you will find a statue of Jan Hus. Hus was a Catholic priest who was burned at the stake for being a heretic in the year 1415. He was a key contributor to the Protestant movement and had significant influence over the states of Europe, and on Martin Luther. Hus owns a prominent spot in the Czech literary history for his teachings. Although the statue is weathered, worn, and slightly discolored, it’s significance withstands the test of time.
The Old Town Hall was completed in 1364 after King John of Luxembourg allowed the citizens of Prague to have their own district council. There have been numerous expansions to the building itself, making it an enormous work of art. During WWII, the building took some damage, but has now been completely restored. These renovations and restorations have created the beautiful, Gothic style we know today. Inside the building is a staircase and elevator, and for a small fee, tourists can climb to the top and become overwhelmed by the beauty of the city view.
The clock itself is a magnificent creation that draws people from all over the world to bask in its glory. It was created in the year 1490 by clock maker Hanus. According to local legend, he was then made blind by the council so he could never create a more beautiful clock. Most of the mechanics that are still at work today were created by Jan Taborsky between 1552 and 1572. The real glory of this clock is what happens every hour. Just before the hour, a trap door opens and Christ marches ahead of his twelve apostles. There is a skeleton on the right that represents death, and he tolls a bell to the statue of Turk. The astronomical clock represents the rotation of the sun and the moon around the earth. The movement also represents the signs of the astronomical calendar.
Below the astronomical clock are 12 medallions, added by Josef Manes in 1865. They represent each month of the year and the signs of the zodiac.
You can visit the Old Town Tall all year round. The hours are:
Mon 11:00 – 18:00
Tues-Sun 09:00 – 18:00
The tourist information office hours are:
April-October: Daily 09:00-20:00
November-March: Daily 09:00-18:00
There is wheelchair access available.
Old Town Hall Tower & Astronomical Clock
Old Town Square
Old Town, Prague 1
Adults – 60czk/$3.34
Students – 40czk/$2.23
Children – 40czk/$2.23
Nearby places include:
Church of Our Lady of Tyn
St. Nicholas Church
Bily Konicek Restaurant
Lary Fary Restaurant
La Casa Argentina
La Bodequita del Medio
Rybi Trh Fish Restaurant