Time capsule being placed in Old Town Tower

Coins, newspapers and messages will be sent to future generations

Prague authorities will leave a message for future generations in the tower of Old Town Hall. The time capsule will have new items and copies of documents from an older time capsule that craftsmen found in September during the tower’s renovation.

City Councilor Jan Wolf (KDU-ČSL), responsible for culture, said archivists evaluated what objects would be put in the capsules based on the contents of previous time capsules so the new one could follow in the same tradition.

The time capsule will be hiding new messages and copies of messages from time capsules left during renovations in 1949 and 1984. The originals from the old boxes are stored in the Municipal Archives. The box will have newspapers, newspapers, banknotes, coins, a fragment of the mayor's chain, a list of current food prices and a poster by artist Eliška Podzimková. The box will be stored in the finial in the Old Town Hall Tower.

Among the 1949 documents was a letter in which a plumber criticized the regime at that time, and stated that Czechoslovakia was just a colony of Russia, which pillages the wealth of the country.

The City Council considered using modern technology. “We were wondering if we should put digital forms there, such as some data carriers, and then we decided that we would continue the tradition that is here from some 600 to 700 years from then when the tower was built,” Wolf said.

The repair of the Old Town Hall Tower will cost Kč 46.6 million without VAT. The project was launched in April. “The façade will be finished by the end of the year. The interior will take a little longer, because it is a very historic space, where we must, of course, respect the instructions of the conservationists, but I believe that everything will be done for the celebrations of the anniversary of the First Czechoslovak Republic,” Krnáčová said. The First Republic was established Oct. 28, 1918. In February restoration will begin on the astronomical clock.

The Old Town Hall Tower, which is a popular tourist attraction, was last repaired in 1984–86.

The roots of Old Town Hall go back to 1338, when the town councilors bought an existing building on the square and converted it to civic use. The tower was completed in 1364. Expansion and modification of the Old Town Hall continued over the centuries.

The astronomical clock, also called the Orloj, was first built in 1410, redesigned in 1490 and again in 1552–1572. Its last major repairs took place after World War II, when the clock was damaged by fire. The figures of saints, which make an appearance every hour during the day, had to be replaced with new ones. There was a minor repair in 2005 to some of the lower statues.

The Orloj is the third-oldest astronomical clock in the world and the oldest one still operating. The astronomical dial is a type of mechanical astrolabe, showing the positions of the sun, moon, and planets relative to the zodiac constellations. It also shows common civil time, Old Czech Time and Babylonian time. A ring on the bottom rotates once a year and indicates the name of a different name for each day.

A wing of the Old Town Hall burned down at the end of World War II as well. The wing has not been replaced and is now filled with grass and benches as well as merchants' stalls. Several efforts have been made to replicate the building or make a new one, but so far nothing has happened due to strong public opposition to tampering with the square.

In the early 2000s then-Mayor Pavel Bém (ODS) announced that a building would be built there, but the project never happened. The Town Hall is one of the most visited places in the city with 700,000 people annually. Many more do not enter the tower but gather to watch the astronomical clock.

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