Prague’s Astronomical Clock has been undergoing repairs for much of this year, with the Czech capital’s most-seen landmarks replaced by a digital facade for the past few months and completely hidden from tourists.
But the iconic Prague landmark will be unveiled to the public later next week, just in time for the 100th anniversary of the foundation of Czechoslovakia this October.
“There is still the calendar plate [below the clock face] to install and then it’s basically finalized,” Petr Skála, the ‘orlojník’ who has cared for the Astronomical Clock for the past decade, told iDnes.cz.
“The mechanism is already functioning in the Old Town Hall, it has to be connected with the calendar plate, the sculptures have to be installed, and then it is finished.”
The restored Astronomical Clock will be first presented to the public during a celebration next Friday, September 28 in Prague’s Old Town Square.
From 18:00, locals and visitors can once again see the apostles come out of their stained glass windows during the clock’s hourly show – – but now, in newly-restored versions.
The stained glass windows are also new: previous versions were installed in the 1970s, but the new renovations aim to bring the Astronomical Clock closer to its original medieval appearance.
Other changes to Prague’s Astronomical Clock include restoring the astrolabe in the center of the clock’s face to its original design, and replacing an electric drive that was installed in the 1940s with something closer to the original mechanism that powered the landmark for the previous 500 years.
The restoration of Prague’s Astronomical Clock has not come without some controversy. In renovating the astrolabe, restorers sought to remove the Americas (which had yet to be discovered when the Clock was first made) from a map on its face.
The total cost of the six-month restoration of one of Prague’s oldest and most iconic landmarks comes to approximately 61 million crowns, minus VAT. That seems to be a bargain considering production of the latest Spider-Man movie in the Czech Republic will bring 250 million crowns to the country over the next two weeks.