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Kathy Kerrigan
International School of Prague
Czech Republic

The time in Prague is:

 

 

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A beautiful astronomical clock is in Prague’s magnificent Old Town Square. The clock is in the Old Town Hall building. The Old Town Square is a place where markets were held, where people met to socialize, where politicians were elected, where Kings were crowned, where armies were assembled,where executions (hangings, beheadings) were held, and where plagues spread.

The master clock maker Mikulas of Kadane and the astronomer Jan Sindel made the clock in 1410. The clock was improved by Master Hanus in 1490. There is a legend that he was blinded afterwards so that he could not build any more clocks for anyone else (but it’s just a legend).

The clock was installed in the Old Town Hall tower in 1521 when all major European cities were installing special clocks. (Actually, Prague was late in following this trend!) The  clock never worked well until it was repaired in 1572.

The people of Prague thought the clock was magic. It tells a lot more than time. The astronomical clock shows the time of the day, the time of the sun rise and sunset, the astrological place for stars, and the moon’s phases.  On the hour, death, who is a skeleton, rings a bell and turns his hourglass upside down to remind us that sooner or later, everyone dies.

Then the 12 apostles pass the two windows nodding to the crowd. The apostles were added to the clock in the 17th century. The four things Praguers were worried about are the four figures beside the clock: *Vanity *Greed *Death and *Pagan Invasion.

Beneath the clock there is a calendar that shows the 12 seasons of the year. (The calendar was made the by Josef Manes,a famous Czech artist.) The clock was damaged at the end of the World War II by American air raids and German sniper fire (although the rest of Prague was undamaged during the war). The apostles were replaced in May of 1954. In 1998, 2.5 million people visited Prague. We’re pretty sure that all 2.5 million of them saw the clock.

This report was prepared by Grade Four ESL students:
Walter Juslin(Finland), Stefanie Przybisch (Spain), Henrik Wellander (Sweden), HelenaWellander (Sweden), and their teacher, Mrs. Kathy Kerrigan.
Together we have lived in Prague for a total of 13 years, and we think we have personally shown the astronomical clock to more than 320 people. And we never get tired of looking at it!