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Old Prague city tour

Published Fri 05 October 2007 16:03 (+0200)
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On Day 2 of our Prague visit Mary, Charles, and I started the day with a tour around Prague's old city sites.

The Astrological Clock

The Astronomical Clock tower
The Astronomical Clock tower
The main Astronomical Clock dial
The main Astronomical Clock dial

The meeting point for this tour (and in fact, nearly every tour's companies tours) is the square with the Town Hall and next to it the famous Astrological Clock.

The two dials of this clock show the location of various astronomical bits and bobs like the sun and moon's position relative to the earth and so on (top dial) and a calendar of the months (bottom dial). There's also some animated figures that pop out and do little performance on the hour (think cuckoo clocks).

As usual, half the stuff that you hear about the clock is just untrue or unverified legend; check out the Wikipedia article for more info.

Buildings around the square

Prague-style ornate ironwork
Prague-style ornate ironwork
Current "pointiest building" world record-holder
Current "pointiest building" world record-holder
You can see why the guy has a headache
You can see why the guy has a headache

Next up the tour looked at the various churches and buildings around the square, which represent a variety of different ages and styles; everything from richly decorated facades to simple but very old stone buildings (one with an unusual stone bell sculpture jutting out from the corner).

Churches in the Old Town

The Church of St James
The Church of St James

After that we walk a couple of blocks away from the square to visit some old churches, in particular the Baroque St James Church.

This church has a mummified forearm hung on the wall near the main entrance, supposedly cut that of a thief who tried to rob the statue of the Virgin of its jewels, only to have it grab his hand and hold fast, such that it had to be cut off (how they got the hand off later is not mentioned!).

The Jewish Quarter

The Old New Synagogue (really)
The Old New Synagogue (really)

Finally, we visited the Jewish Quarter; like so many European cities, what you don't see here is all the stuff destroyed in the pogroms and so on at various times, but there's still some interesting sites left, including a Synagogue officially called the Old New Synagogue! The New New Synagogue is down by the river area.