According to the latest researches, the astronomical clock was constructed in 1410 by the clockmaker Mikulas of Kadan in collaboration with Jan Ondrejuv called Sindel, professor of mathematics and astronomy of Prague Charles University.
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.
The story also says that before he died, master Hanus deliberately damaged the clock so seriously, that nobody could ever fix it again. He also cursed the instrument, so those who tried to repair it have either gone mad or died.
The figures of the 12 apostles, blessing the city at every hour were added in more recent times, during the major repair work carried out between the years 1865-1866.The clock and the entire City Hall had a lot to suffer during the Second World War in 1945. On the last day of the war, the centre of old Prague was the aim of the Nazi artillery. The entire building of the Old Town Hall burnt down. Fortunately, everything could be reconstructed and the figures of the apostles replaced by the creations of the woodcarver Vojtech Sucharda after the end of the Second World War.
Let’s take them in order: the four figures at the clock dial are symbols of the Prague medieval society. On the left side are represented Vanity admiring himself in a mirror and the Miser/Jew holding into his bag of gold. On the right side are represented Death ringing his bell and a Turk (or The Piper) shaking his head.
Under the clock dial you will see the Calendar, painted by Josef Manes in 1805. Well, the one you will see is actually a replica, the original are safely kept on the sides of the stairway of the Prague Museum of History. Getting back to our figures, at the Calendar you will see: a chronicler, an angel, an astronomer and a philosopher (from left to right).
The Clock Tower is also decorated with exquisite coats of arms and different royal symbols. There is also a rooster that crows after the Apostles have finished their blessing.
The Sphere or clock dial shows most important astronomical events: movement of the sun (notice that the sun circles around the Earth and not the other way around), phases of the moon, the equinoxes, the seasons, the days and the zodiac.
For more pictures see Astronomocal clock photo gallery