Apr 02, 2024

Prague’s Astronomical Clock Will Stop for a Bit on 3 April – Find Out Why

The Orloj, marking the time since 1410 at the Old Town Square of Prague is the oldest astronomical clock in the world that is still working; it’s also one of the most iconic symbols of the Czech capital.

Yet, on 3 April (Wednesday) at 10 am local time, it will briefly stop working – on purpose.

The reason behind this unusual and purposeful “glitch” is the so-called No Rush Day (Národní den bez spěchu), an initiative in Czechia, which aims to remind people to slow down and reflect on life.

It is particularly linked to the idea that rushing also leads to speeding on the road and this results in unnecessary injuries and deaths.

The overall idea of the initiative is to promote a habit of mindfulness and safety on the Czech roads and beyond. Last year, this careless urgency resulted in 138 deaths in traffic.

We give people a little more time to slow down and realize that not everything is urgent and that it’s often better to be a few minutes late than to not arrive at all,” explains Jan Matoušek, executive director of the Czech Insurance Association, quoted by Expats.cz.

The Astronomical Clock is a popular attraction with tourists thanks to its on-the-hour procession of twelve figures representing the apostles.

The 10 am procession on 3 April, however, will stop, and instead, the clock’s Death figure will toll 138 times during the temporary suspension to honour each of the lives lost on the roads.

The initiative will also be supported by the major media outlets in the country, the Czech Football Association, cultural institutions, businesses, and universities.

Wherever possible, the start of regular events and proceedings will be delayed in order to underscore the idea that it’s always possible to take some time and not rush.

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