Clock tower in Czech Village to be renovated


The clock tower at the National Czech and Slovak Museum & Library is about to get a facelift.

The Gazette reports initial work will begin this month to complete the original vision of creating a Prague-style astronomical clock, known as an orloj (pronounced OR-loy). The tower will undergo rebuilding and renovation that includes reconstructing the upper portion of the tower with bricks that match the lower section, and an astronomical clock to be installed including hourly animations of figures representing Czech immigration to the United States.

Officials at the museum say the Prague orloj is the oldest still-functioning astronomical clock in the world, and once done, the museum will have the only one in the United States. Instead of the Prague clock’s 12 apostles, the Cedar Rapids orloj will feature 12 figurines telling the immigrant story, with a farmer, a bee keeper, a coal miner, a meatpacker and other sculptures representing those who came here from Czech, Slovak and Moravian lands.

The Cedar Rapids clock tower was built in 1995 and its four clocks are no longer functioning after being impacted by the 2008 flood and 2020’s derecho.

The $1.6 million project culminates in a grand opening set for September 21st during BrewNost, one of the museum’s signature events.