Crossing the border into the Czech Republic and heading towards its capital, we arrive at Prague. A city of fairy-tales that looks like somewhere people would call “the magical city” due to its soft glow, its pointed and darkened castles and its fantastic stories which fill the city with visual magic.
If there is something that stands out and attracts attention to Prague, it’s its astronomical clock, source of legends, tales and various myths. Its mechanism is highly prestigious, since it not only gives the time in three different systems, but also calculates the orbit of the sun and the moon around the Earth, and the movement of these depending on the zodiac signs.
Amongst others, legend says that this clock was constructed by clockmaster Hanuš in the 15th century, and that only he knew how this complicated mechanism worked. The city’s counsellors felt a sense of great pride for their work, which brought praise to Prague for its beauty and advanced technology. But, soon after its construction, Hanuš found himself immersed in a new project in his workshop. The counsellors found out that he was working on a new, perfected astronomical clock, and they feared that his work would be carried out in another, foreign city, leaving Prague in second place. For this reason, they broke into the clockmaster’s workshop when he was alone, and blinded him by stabbing him in the eyes.
The years passed, and the clockmaster became gravely ill. As his final request, he asked the governor of the city to let him touch his great construction, the astronomical clock, before his death. The governor agreed to his request; a moment of which Hanuš took advantage to carry out his revenge.
Once he was in front of the clock’s mechanism, he plunged his arm into one of the main gears, breaking a lever and causing the clock to stop. It is said that in this instant, Hanuš dropped dead in front of his masterpiece. They had to wait almost 500 years until another engineer who was capable of mending the clock came along.
As a result, it was stopped for many years, and it is said that the craftsman’s spirit comes back from the afterlife every now and then to play some sort of prank on the mechanism of his fantastic clock. So, what do you say – are you coming to Prague to discover it all?
Translated by Katy Burrows