Rick Steves’ Europe

S8 E11 | CLIP

Prague, Czech Republic: Old Town Square

Prague’s Old Town Square is filled with beautifully preserved landmarks: the Gothic Týn Church, a memorial to Jan Hus, and a 15-century Astronomical Clock.

AIRED: April 28, 2015 | 0:01:52

Prague's Old Town Square,

once just another farmers market,

is now the heart of the city, but today,

the commerce is clearly tourism.

The fanciful Gothic Tyn Church soars over everything

as if to remind tourists

lots of religious history took place right here.

Back in the 15th century,

some Christians were beginning to struggle against

Roman Catholic dominance.

This was Prague's leading Hussite church.

Hussites were followers of Jan Hus,

whose statue graces the square.

He was a local preacher who got in trouble

with the Vatican a hundred years before

Martin Luther and the Reformation.

The chalice is a symbol of Hus and his followers,

who believed everyone, not just priests,

should be able to partake in the Eucharist,

or the Holy Communion.

These days, the biggest crowds gather at

the 15th century Astronomical Clock

back on the Old Town Square.

The two dials seem to tell you

everything you could possibly want to know.

It tells the phases of the moon, sunset,

current signs of the Zodiac,

each day's special saint, and,

somehow, it even tells the time.

And of course, 500 years ago,

everything revolved around the earth.

At the top of the hour, Death tips his hourglass

and pulls the cord.

The windows open as the twelve apostles parade by,

acknowledging the gang of onlookers.

The rooster crows...

And finally, the bell rings.

But my favorite part of the show is watching the crowd gawk.


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