Quiz: Prague's Historic Astronomical Clock

May 8, 2020

Prague’s astronomical clock is a medieval remnant, but also a mechanical landmark, operating in some manner for centuries. Perched in a tower of city hall in the heart of Prague’s old city, it is a tourist destination and a rare living reminder of life in the Middle Ages. Besides keeping time, it reflects the view of Earth as the center of the universe, showing the positions of the sun and moon and the passing of the Zodiac orbiting the earth. It was not until well after its construction that Galileo, working on theories of Copernicus, pressed the theory that Earth actually revolves around the sun. At the hour, an image of Death strikes a bell, beginning a procession of 12 wooden figures representing the Apostles that are viewed through two windows. Three other figures representing Vanity, Greed and Vice move their heads and arms, along with Death, twirling an hourglass. Surprisingly, the clock is still powered by much of the original mechanism. Take this quiz to see what you know about this historic astronomical clock.

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