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Astronomical Clock — Fotopedia
The Astronomical Clock on the Old Town Hall is one of the major sights of the city and many visitors mention it as one of the most outstanding things to see in Prague. It reveals the respectful regard that people of the past felt for the heavenly order.
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Prague

Prague (/ˈprɑːɡ/; Czech: Praha pronounced [ˈpraɦa] ( )) is the capital and largest city of the Czech Republic. It is the fourteenth-largest city in the European Union. It is also the historical capital of Bohemia. Situated in the north-west of the country on the Vltava River, the city is home to about 1.3 million people, while its larger urban zone is estimated to have a population of nearly 2 million. The city has a temperate climate, with warm summers and chilly winters.


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Astronomical clock

An astronomical clock is a clock with special mechanisms and dials to display astronomical information, such as the relative positions of the sun, moon, zodiacal constellations, and sometimes major planets.


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Old Town (Prague)

Old Town (Czech: Staré Město) is a medieval settlement of Prague, Czech Republic. It was separated from the outside by a semi-circular moat and wall, connected to the Vltava at both of its ends. The moat is now covered up by the streets (from north to south-west) Revolučni, Na Příkopě, and Národni—which remain the official boundary of the cadastral district of Old Town. It is now in Praha 1.

Soon after the city was expanded in the 14th century by Charles IV with the founding of the New Town, the moat and wall were dismantled.

Notable places in the Old Town include the Old New Synagogue, Old Town Square and Astronomical Clock. Across the river Vltava connected by the Charles Bridge is Malá Strana ("Lesser Quarter"). Josefov is located in the northwest corner of Old Town heading towards the Vltava.

From its early existence, around 9th century, Staré Město was laid out of settlements which appeared from the spacious marketplace on the bank of Vltava. Records dating back to 1100AD indicate that every Saturday a market was held on the marketplace, and large military gatherings also took place there. Thanks to the trade the nearby area merchants became rich, and when the King Václav I gave them the privileges of township, the town of Město Pražské (the town of Prague) was formed. According to ancient records, the city had around 13 gates, and a huge moat, providing strong defenses.


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Clock

A clock is an instrument to indicate, keep, and co-ordinate time. The word clock is derived ultimately (via Dutch, Northern French, and Medieval Latin) from the Celtic words clagan and clocca meaning "bell". A silent instrument missing such a mechanism has traditionally been known as a timepiece. In general usage today a "clock" refers to any device for measuring and displaying the time. Watches and other timepieces that can be carried on one's person are often distinguished from clocks.

The clock is one of the oldest human inventions, meeting the need to consistently measure intervals of time shorter than the natural units: the day; the lunar month; and the year. Devices operating on several physical processes have been used over the millennia. The evolution of the technology of clocks continues today.

The study of timekeeping is known as horology.


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History of timekeeping devices

For thousands of years, devices have been used to measure and keep track of time. The current sexagesimal system of time measurement dates to approximately 2000 BC, in Sumer. The Ancient Egyptians divided the day into two 12-hour periods, and used large obelisks to track the movement of the Sun. They also developed water clocks, which were probably first used in the Precinct of Amun-Re, and later outside Egypt as well; they were employed frequently by the Ancient Greeks, who called them clepsydrae. The Shang Dynasty is believed to have used the outflow water clock around the same time, devices which were introduced from Mesopotamia as early as 2000 BC. Other ancient timekeeping devices include the candle clock, used in China, Japan, England and Iraq; the timestick, widely used in India and Tibet, as well as some parts of Europe; and the hourglass, which functioned similarly to a water clock. The sundial, an early clock, relies on shadows to provide a good estimate of the hour on a sunny day. It is not so useful in cloudy weather or at night and requires recalibration as the seasons change (if the gnomon was not aligned with the Earth's axis). The earliest known clock with a water-powered escapement mechanism, which transferred rotational energy into intermittent motions, dates back to 3rd century BC ancient Greece; Chinese engineers later invented clocks incorporating mercury-powered escapement mechanisms in the 10th century, followed by Arabic engineers inventing water clocks driven by gears and weights in the 11th century.