Astronomical Clock going back into operation

The date has been set to unveil the restored clock and finish the work on the tower

The Astronomical Clock will be back in operation Sept. 28, which is also the national holiday for St Wenceslas. The festivities will begin at 5:45 pm and the clock will be unveiled at 6 pm.

Light shows will take place on the tower at 8, 9 and 10 pm that day.

The clock is the final part on a restoration of the Old Town Hall tower, which took a year and a half, and saw both cosmetic and structural changes to the interior and exterior of the tower.

An exhibition of photographs and historical artifacts relating to the tower will open Sept. 28 in Old Town Hall and run until Oct. 28.

The Astronomical Clock will look a bit different than people remember. The color pattern on the disk behind the astrolabe has been restored to a previous pattern that some experts say is more accurate, as it shown when twilight occurs. The doors that the Apostles appear behind have also been changed to stained glass rather than wood.

The main changes will not be visible to the public. The inner workings of the clock have been restored to how they were in the 1860s.

The clock stopped on Jan. 8 and was completely dismantled for the first time since just after World War II.

While the clock was being repaired, an LED screen showing how the clock would look was put in place in March, but that too had to be removed in August so the final re-installation can take place.

The Old Town Tower and the clock were very badly damaged by fire on May 8, 1945, the last day of the war, when the fleeing German occupation forces tried to destroy the square. The clock repairs took until 1948, but several inaccuracies introduced.

The restoration of the clock puts it back to its state before World War II, with a few exceptions. Some of the wooden statues will keep their more recent looks.

People can already see some changes to the tower. The clocks at the top of the tower were restored in March with gold hands and new faces that match Baroque designs from 1787. The hour hand in this design is the longer one.

A stone statue of a Madonna and Baby Jesus has recently been reinstalled on the tower and is a more accurate copy of the original.

The lower calendar wheel, which takes a full year to turn, has been replaced with a new copy based on the original paintings by Josef Mánes in the Municipal Museum.

During the renovation of the tower, a time capsule was found and a new one was placed in a hidden spot.

For the complete renovation of the Old Town Hall tower, the city will pay approximately Kč 55 million without VAT. Work on the clock costs Kč 9.4 million.

The Astronomical Clock was first built in 1410, redesigned in 1490 and again in 1552–72.

The clock underwent a large renovation in 1797–91, and the rotating Apostles were added around this time. Another repair took place in 1865–61, and the sound of the rooster was added. More repairs took place in 1912.

Some errors to the Astronomical Clock face were fixed in 1979. Further repairs took place 1984–86.

The Orloj, as it is also called, is the third-oldest Astronomical Clock in the world and the oldest one still operating.

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