The famous astronomical clock that is Prague’s most popular tourist attraction has lost some star players for the next two months. The four outside figures, including a skeletal Death, have been removed and are being repainted to protect them from the elements.
The clock was built in 1410 and is the oldest working astronomical clock in the world. Dials show the position Moon, position of the Sun on the zodiac, and other astronomical events. Every hour there’s a parade of painted figures representing the 12 Apostles. Four other figures, representing vanity, greed, death, and pleasure, stand outside. As the bells chime the hours and the Apostles do their walk, Death shakes an hourglass to remind you that everything is transitory.
It’s quite a show, as you can see from this video by the folks at In Your Pocket: Essential City Guides. They have a free downloadable guide to Prague and many other cities on their website.
The clock will continue to function as the four figures are repainted. Legend has it that if the clock stops, disaster will strike the city.