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The Collegium Maius is the oldest college of the Polish oldest and best university.

The beautiful college courtyard is accessible free of charge daylong plus on odd evenings when it provides picturesque background for open-air theater or musical events. At 11 a.m., 1 p.m., and 3 p.m. the courtyard clock performs little show with wooden figures parading to solemn music.

The present clock has been restored four times in the history of Collegium Maius. According to documents from 1465 referring to the repair of a clock of “great size”, we know that the first clock came into being before this year.

Destroyed in 1492 by fire and rebuilt thanks to the efforts of the Academy authorities and Queen Elizabeth from Austria, the clock kept time for several decades after. The third restoration of the clock was made possible thanks to a donation from Maciej of Miechów, a professor and benefactor of the Cracow Academy. An unusually clock was constructed in which symbols of the sun and moon moved together with the mechanism. The circumstances under which the clock stopped functioning are unknown.

The present clock began working on October 1, 1999. In this clock a computer system sets in motion a procession of historical figures marching to two different melodies: an extract of court “music” taken from the tablature of John of Lublin, dating from the middle of the 16th century and an instrumental version of the academic song Gaudeamus Igitur.

In the procession there are figures of people connected with the history of the Cracow Academy: the beadle, Queen Jadwiga, King Ladislaus Jagiello, St. John of Kety, Hugon Kollataj and Rector Stanislaus of Skalbmierz.

The best place for looking are stairs vis-a-vis the clock.

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Additional Photos by Wiktor Czerwinski (MoreTravel) Silver Note Writer [C: 2 W: 1 N: 190] (912)
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