Established in 1338, the Old Town Hall was cobbled together over the centuries out of several adjoining houses. However, only around half of the original is still standing today, with the present Gothic and Renaissance portions having been carefully restored since the devastation of World War II. Look out for the Old Town coat of arms, adopted by the whole city after 1784, which adorns the front of the Old Council Hall. And if you choose to climb the clock tower, built in 1364, you'll reach a viewing platform that's definitely worth the effort.
The 12th-century dungeon in the basement became the headquarters of the Resistance during the Prague uprising in 1945, when reinforcements were spirited away from the Nazis all over Staré Město via the connecting underground passages. Four scorched beams in the basement remain as a testament to the Resistance fighters who fell there. On the side of the clock tower, you'll find a plaque giving thanks to the Soviet soldiers who liberated the city in 1945. There's also a plaque commemorating Dukla, a pass in Slovakia where the worst battle of the Czechoslovak liberation took place, resulting in the death of 84,000 Red Army soldiers.
The Astronomical Clock has been ticking and pulling in the crowds since 1490, although its party trick is laughably unspectacular. Every hour on the hour, from 8am to 8pm, wooden saints emerge from trap doors, while below them, a lesson in medieval morality is enacted by Greed, Vanity, Death and the Turk. The clock shows the movement of the sun and moon through the zodiac, as well as giving the time in three different formats: Central European Time, Old Czech Time (in which the 24-hour day is reckoned around the setting of the sun) and, for some reason, Babylonian Time. Just below the clock face is a calendar painted by Josef Mánes in 1865, depicting saints' days, the astrological signs and the labours of the months.
A particularly resilient Prague legend concerns the fate of Master Hanuš, the clockmaker. Hanuš was blinded by the vainglorious burghers of the town, in a bid to prevent him repeating his horological triumph elsewhere. In retaliation, Hanuš thrust his hands into the clock and simultaneously ended his life and, briefly, that of his masterpiece.