This and That

Random bits of my life

Archive for October 27th, 2013

Astronomical Clock, Old Town Square

Posted by Avital Pinnick on October 27, 2013

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No collection of Prague photos would be complete without the city’s most over-rated tourist attraction, the astronomical clock in the Old Town Square. The dial of the clock shows the position of the sun and moon and astronomical information (this site explains how the the clock works; there’s also an interactive animation). The clock was constructed in 1410. It is the third-oldest clock of its kind and the oldest working astronomical clock in the world.

Every hour, when the clock strikes, lots of tourists (and pickpockets) gather below to watch the show.

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The top of the clock features the “walk of the apostles,” in which the doors above the clocks open and the apostles appear in pairs, bearing their attributes. The thorns on top of the angel’s head are meant to discourage pigeons.

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While the apostles make their appearance, four mechanized figures move their heads back and forth. The figure on the left, below, is Vanity (he’s holding a mirror in front of his face at this angle). The one on the right was originally a bearded Jew holding money bags. Now he is the generic figure, Greed or Usury.

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Death, on the left, pulls a rope, which causes a bell to toll. The figure holding the lute is a Turk, who represents pleasure.

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At the end of the bells you hear a rooster crowing but it doesn’t actually move.

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I played around a bit with colour because it’s hard to find something new when photographing a subject that has been photographed to death.

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Finally, check out this video, which shows an elaborate video-mapping to celebrate the 600th anniversary of the clock:

The 600 Years from the macula on Vimeo.

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Spanish Synagogue

Posted by Avital Pinnick on October 27, 2013

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The Spanish Synagogue is a Moorish revival building built in 1868. It is used as a concert hall and is part of the Jewish Museum. Despite its name, the congregation is not Sephardi. It’s actually a Reform congregation. The photos are a bit wonky and don’t do it justice because (a) photography wasn’t allowed, so I had to take these photos quickly, (b) I was exhausted by the end of our 3-hour tour of the Jewish Quarter, and (c) I find Moorish revival architecture rather boring. If you like lots of gold and Moorish arches, you’ll love the Jubilee Synagogue, which I photographed on another day.

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View of the organ loft on the second floor:

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Partial view of the dome. It would have been fun to stand directly underneath it with a wide-angle lens, but that would not have been possible without attracting attention.

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High Synagogue in the Jewish Town Hall

Posted by Avital Pinnick on October 27, 2013

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The High Synagogue wasn’t part of our tour of the Jewish Quarter. In fact, I didn’t know what it was when I photographed it, so I took only a few quick shots. We were buying cheese and meat in the store in the Jewish Town Hall. On the way out, I noticed a lovely synagogue and took these photos. Although it dates back to 1568 (the same year as the Jewish Town Hall’s completion), it was destroyed in the great fire of 1689 and rebuilt in 1883.

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