Prague 03

Prague, Czechia - Detail of the Prague Astronomical Clock a.k.a. Orloj

Detail of the Prague Astronomical Clock a.k.a. Orloj

Orloj (pronounced “orloy”) is the Czech name of the world-famous Prague Astronomical Clock. It was installed in the 15th century on the southern wall of the city hall in Old Town Square in the Czech capital Prague. It is one of the oldest astronomical clocks in the world and the oldest one still in operation. Its Czech name is derived from the Latin word for clock – horologium.

The Orloj has three main components: the astronomical dial, the calendar dial and sixteen moving figures representing the twelve apostles and four things that were despised in the Middle Ages.

The Orloj is very popular among the countless tourists visiting Prague each year and it is has been photographed millions of times. I wanted to photograph it in a way that wouldn’t resemble a tourist snapshot and decided to go for a close-up shot showing a part of the astronomical dial and the two figures on the right – Skeleton (representing Death) and Turk with a musical instrument (representing pleasure). The astronomical dial is a mechanical astrolabe – a device depicting the movements of objects in the sky.

Every hour the four figures on both sides of the astronomical dial are set in motion and the Death figure pulls a bell rope. At the same time two small windows above the clock open and the viewers see a presentation of the twelve Apostles.

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