Clock of new times
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At every full hour, Death gives the first sign. With one skeleton, he pulls the signature ring, the other lifts the hourglass. Time passes! - shows Grim Reaper. Then the Turk, the symbol of debauchery, starts to shake his head, Vanity looks in the mirror, Greed shakes the purse with money. Finally, the apostles are set in motion ... Who never stopped in front of the Prague City Hall to watch the orloy performance.

Astronomical clocks - equipped with mechanisms and dials showing not only time, but also cycles of celestial bodies - were constructed throughout Europe, especially willingly in the 14th and 15th centuries. The Olomouc Orloj is the most famous astronomical clock after Prague in historic Czech countries. Unfortunately, it was destroyed by a grenade explosion during World War II. Although it was reconstructed in its original shape, it was rebuilt ten years after the war - in order to properly reflect "time and its spirit". This is the only horologue in the style of socialist realism.

Below the main dial - presenting the positions of the planets in the zodiacal system - there is a calendar dial showing the day date, falling on a given name day, as well as ... holidays and events important for socialism, such as the birthday of Józef Stalin or Klement Gottwald. The smaller dials beside indicate the hours, minutes and phases of the moon. Above, on both sides of the golden hen, there are windows in which figures appear. But not the apostles, as in the Prague clock, but representatives of various professions - baker, official or volleyball player. The town hall niche, in which the clock is located, is decorated with a mosaic - at the bottom is a chemist and a worker; at the top, the so-called Ride of the Kings, a folk procession that traverses Moravian villages in spring. The elongates are decorated with mosaics showing 12 months. The whole is complemented by a chime who originally won the melody of ... International, soon replaced by Moravian folk songs.


Death and the Turk in the clock of the Old Town Hall in Prague.


Apostles, part of the mechanism in the Prague clock.


Prague Orloj from 1420, work of the watchmaker Mikuláš from Kadan and astronomer Jan Šindla, rector of the Prague University.


Olomouc Orloj before destruction by a grenade explosion during World War II.


Socialist realist Orloj, work of Karel Svolinski from 1955.


An official, mother with a baby, metallurgist - protagonists of a new socialist society without class differences.


The Olomouc Town Hall with the orloj niche and the baroque Holy Trinity column of 35 meters, which makes it the tallest free-standing sculpture in the world. Olomouc's pride, as it is a collective work of Olomouc builders and craftsmen created in 1716–1754 in thanks for saving the city from the plague (sic!) Decimating in the years 1713–1715 the population of Czech and Moravia (in Prague alone, a quarter inhabitants). The Olomouc column has been on the UNESCO World Heritage List since 2000.


The Olomouc Orloj and other surprising socialist realist buildings in Central and Eastern Europe were presented in the double issue of the quarterly "Herito" (37–38 / 2019–2020) entitled Magical socialist realism ?. The number is still available in the ICC bookstore.

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