Thursday 13 March 2014

Books, Clocks and Dancing Buildings

On our recent visit to Prague, whilst searching for a Post Office we wandered into a rather large building expecting to find Post Office counters and mail boxes. Instead we found this!

Book Tower
As soon as we were close enough to see that this was made of books we realised that we had wandered into the library by mistake!

This book tower was amazing, it ran the full height of the building, which was at least three storeys high. This photo was taken on the first floor so peeping through the gap in the front you could see right down to the basement or right up to the top floor.

We eventually found the Post Office around the corner :)

Around another corner we found another amazing feat of engineering.

Astronomical Clock Prague
This is the Town Hall clock in the Old Town Square in Prague, isn't it glorious?

The mechanism for this clock dates from between 1552 and 1572, which is pretty mind-blowing too.

The bottom dial, which was replaced in 1866, represents a calendar with peasant scenes to illustrate the months of the year.

Clock close up

The top dial, seen here in close-up, has a wealth of information on it. The hand with the sun on it records three different times, the outer ring for Old Bohemian time (of use only to Old Bohemians!), the Roman Numerals inside that ring records current time, the blue part inside the Roman Numerals represents daylight hours, which vary from summer to winter. The inner ring shows the movement of the sun and moon through the 12 signs of the zodiac. It makes digital clocks look exceedingly boring!

As well as all of the above to take in, there is a floorshow to be seen on the hour :) The two figures on the right hand side of the clock are Death (the skeleton) and the Turk. At each hour Death pulls on the rope in his hand and inverts the hourglass in his hand, the Turk shakes his head from side to side. Vanity, on the left hand side, meanwhile is gazing at himself in the mirror next to his friend Greed.

But that is not all!

Clock on the hour

Above the dials the windows open and a procession of the Twelve Apostles pass by peering out of the open windows in turn.

Needless to say it is not difficult to tell when an hour approaches if you are anywhere near the vicinity of the clock. The whole show is over in a flash, but is definitely worth the wait.

Charles Bridge and Prague Castle

Although buildings such as the Charles Bridge and Prague Castle above are how most people think of the city, there is a modern side to this beautiful city too.

Nowhere is this better epitomised than in the aptly named Dancing House. 

Fred and Ginger House Prague

The building was completed in 1996, and was not universally popular at the time of its' construction, but now is as much of a landmark as its' Baroque and Art Nouveau neighbours. It is even more fun when lit up at night, but we didn't get a chance to see that. Maybe next time :)

Linking up as ever to

Really Random


  1. I love seeing the world vicariously through you!
    P.S. No really random this week (you will see why tomorrow.) Can you please post this next week, though?

  2. beautiful pictures! The clock really is amazing!

  3. I have enjoyed my tour of Prague, re the book pile cannot see that standing long her I am sure someone would pull a book out, what a tumble down that would be. Amazing clock well worth waiting for the hour to strike and as for the modern buildings very different

  4. WOW!!! The clock is amazing!!! Just imagine anything now being made to last several hundred years.

  5. Well that was really interesting. The modern building sort of reminded me of the Scottish Parliament building which was the subject of much derision when first built but now, imo, is beginning to look quite beautiful.
    The clock is amazing.

  6. I LOVE that clock! And I'm sorry I missed the dancing house and library. I'll have to go back :)

  7. The history that is overseas is fascinating! Love the pictures and of course history lessons in your post. Very interesting - loved the tower of books.

  8. Love that book tower! The clock is amazing too. What a lot of thought and work went into that, and consider there were no computers to help figure it all out.

  9. Thanks so much for sharing! I love the clock and book tower.

  10. Love all the amazing twists and turns there :o)

    BTW, no linky today, it's back next week

  11. Prague is on my list of places to visit this summer! I love the modern building, but I'm my heart is always drawn to the older parts of a city :)

  12. I lived in Prague for four years when my children were small. Loved every moment of it. Your pictures bring back great memories. I love the fred and ginger building, infact Mike and I learnt to dance in some wonderful ballrooms in Prague

  13. We were a bit nonplussed by the clock, it was so quick, but I wish I'd seen the library, that looks fab! It looks huge, I know people ( ones I gave birth to!) who'd be tempted to get in and slide down!!!!

  14. I've always wanted to visit Prague, so thanks for letting me see it vicariously. The clock is spectacular, a real feat of skill and engineering!

  15. very interesting, thanks for sharing

  16. Beautiful! Thank you for showing us some of the city. The clock face is amazing, and very confusing!


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