She doesn’t look a day over 600, but on October 9, the Prague astronomical clock celebrates its 605th birthday. To celebrate this joyous occasion, Google has put up a very nice Google Doodle. The company writes in the page about the drawing that “Despite over a half a millennium of wear and a brush with disaster in WWII, much of its original machinery remains intact, making it the oldest functioning clock of its kind in the world.” The company adds, “Today’s Doodle honors a magnificent achievement in medieval engineering and a cultural landmark whose symbolism, design, and intermittent repairs are a remarkable catalogue of Europe’s past.”
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Legend Says That the City of Prague Suffers if the Clock Is Neglected
According to Prague City Line, the entire city will suffer if the 605-year-old clock is ever neglected and falls into disrepair. The clock is located in the city’s famed Old Town Square. One of the clock’s symbols, a skeleton, which represents death, will nod its head when it deems that the device has been neglected and that it’s time for Prague to suffer.
2. The Clock Was Severely Damaged by the Nazis During the Prague Uprising
As the Allies cruised to victory in the final days of World War II in 1945, the Nazis began sabotaging their equipment as well the historical buildings of Prague. As a result, the clock didn’t function until 1948 when it was repaired.
3. You Can View the Inside of the Clock on Google Streetview
Thanks to Google, you don’t have to bring yourself all the way to Prague’s Old Town (but you should, it’s beautiful). You can view the inner workings of the clock on Google Street View. Obviously, you can also check out the outside area, too, and remind yourself why you should go to Prague.
4. One of the Clock’s Designers Was a Catholic Priest & a Scientist
The clock was first constructed in 1410 by two men, Mikulas of Kadan, and Catholic priest and scientist Jan Sindel. He was the astronomer in the duo with Mikulas being the more functional clockmaker. The influence of religion can be observed around the clock, with the 12 apostles, the skeleton representing death, as well as a miser carrying a bag of gold representing the deadly sin of greed.
5. The Clock Is Older Than Joan of Arc
The clock was functioning for two years before Joan of Arc was born. It’s nearly a century older than William Shakespeare. Not only that, but it’s fully 310 years older than the United States of America.