One of the wonders of the world stands out in the Prague sky: it is the Old Town Hall Tower, an architectural masterpiece embellished by the famous astronomical clock, one of the oldest in the world, which has become a symbol of the Czech capital.
For hundreds of years at the stroke of the hour, the Procession of the Apostles has been repeated, a fascinating mechanical ritual that has become a must-see attraction for anyone visiting Prague: 12 figures depicting the apostles parade across the top of the Tower, located in the Gothic wing of the Old Town Hall.
Perhaps it is the romantic charm of the clocks of yesteryear, perhaps it is the craftsmanship of the artisans who conceived such a complex mechanism in perfect working order, perhaps it is the extraordinary view of the city that can be enjoyed from the top of the Tower, but it is not surprising that the Clock Tower is one of the best memories tourists take home from a holiday in Prague.
Thanks to a modern, barrier-free lift, you can climb to the top of the Old Town Hall Tower, where a panoramic balcony has been built. From here you can enjoy a breathtaking view of the city, with its fascinating palaces, churches and towers.
The tower is open to visitors from morning to night, so you can choose whether you prefer a daytime view, to catch a glimpse of more famous monuments, or enjoy the enchantment of a night view with the thousand lights of a fairytale Prague.
You can visit the tower during a tour of the Old Town Hall, which also includes the historical halls and basement, or visit it separately.
The great attraction of the Old Town Hall Tower is the Astronomical Clock: photographed by hundreds of tourists every day, the clock shows time unlike any other instrument in the world. This jewel of horology is activated by an extremely complex mechanism, while some parts are purely decorative.
An early clock, the work of master clockmaker Mikuláš z Kadaň, was added to the Old Town Hall Tower in 1410. It was later perfected by Hanuš z Růže, who turned it into the marvel we admire today.
The clock was damaged on many occasions and several repairs were necessary, sometimes made possible thanks to the efforts of the local population, who saw the clock as a sign of pride. Today it is one of the best-preserved medieval clocks in the world.
There are two clock faces in the tower clock. The upper dial is actually an astrolabe, a medieval instrument used to determine the position of the stars: this is the oldest part of the clock. The lower dial, on the other hand, is a calendar.
Together the two dials make it possible to know the current day and its position in the week, month and year, at the same time as the position of the celestial bodies and the European, Babylonian and astronomical calendar.
Four statues on either side of the clock come to life at the stroke of each hour, each with its own meaning: the figure with the mirror represents Vanity, the figure with the moneybag is Avarice, the Turk represents the barbarian invasions while the skeleton represents death.
It is the skeleton that starts the Procession of the Apostles at the stroke of each hour, ringing a bell and reversing the hourglass. The 12 apostles come out on parade and in groups of two wave to the crowd gathered in the central Old Town Square. The spectacle ends with a trumpet blast.
The wooden statues of the apostles can be admired up close, albeit through glass, during the tour of the Old Town Hall.
If a ticket is not necessary to admire the shows that entertain tourists every hour, it is to climb the Clock Tower. For just a few euros you will have a splendid 360° view of the Old Town Square and the entire city of Prague.
Given the very high number of visitors practically every day of the year, we recommend that you buy your ticket online before you go. The following ticket also includes a guided tour of the medieval dungeon, a visit to the Gothic chapel and the state rooms
If you are short on time but would like to take a complete tour of Prague’s Old Town, take part in a guided tour: for just a few euros more, you will have an official guide at your disposal who will accompany you on a discovery tour of Prague’s Old Town.
City Card allow you to save on public transport and / or on the entrances to the main tourist attractions.