Decision on the application that Rostock Astronomical Clock be nominated for the German tentative list for World Cultural Heritage
On Dezember 4, 2023 the decision by KMK* was announced which sites will be entered to the German tentative list for recognition as World Cultural Heritage. Unfortunately, Rostock Astronomical Clock is not included. The applicant's response is HERE (press release in German): We do not give up!
* The German acronym KMK is for "The Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs of the Länder in the Federal Republic of Germany".
Proceedings book of the 2022 symposium is introduced
Under the motto „550 years Rostock Astronomical Clock“ an international symposium on „medieval astronomical monumental clocks“ was held in Rostock in October 2022. The collected presentations are now available as a book of close to 400 pages (see HERE). It is introduced in a meeting on November 14, 2023 in Rostock’s „Hausbaumhaus“.
Scientific survey of the clock's face
In March / April 2023 the clock front was behind a scaffold. This was to allow a comprehensive and detailed status survey, during which the entire clock surface was examined close-up with sientific methods. As a result, insights were obtained about the clock’s history; also, restorative measures to become necessary in the future were identified.
Symposium “Medieval Astronomical Monumental Clocks”
Oct. 28-30, 2022 in Rostock
About 60 experts convened in Rostock to discuss topics regarding medieval astronomical monumental clocks. Respective experts presented the Rostock specimen and comparable clocks in 5 countries. Beyond technical questions, issues of monuments protection were discussed, and also the application to recognize the Rostock clock as a world cultural heritage site.
For more information see HERE at menu item "Symposium 2022".
The Clock’s Anniversary: 550 Years
The first documented mention of the clock is dated Oct. 26, 1472. On that day bishop Werner Wolmers signed an indulgence letter to raise funds towards the completion of the astronomical clock.
On Oct. 26, 2022 the clock was thus 550 years old – and it keeps on ticking….
Registered Club founded
So far it has been a private initiative to foster the Astronomical Clock and to start the application process for its recognition as World Cultural Heritage. As the amount of tasks grew, it is continued as a registered association: “Astronomische Uhr Rostock von 1472 e.V.” The club is officially recognized as a non-profit common-benefit entity.
For more information see HERE at menu item “Club”
Yet another new book released
On Sept. 11, 2022 Prof. Dr. Manfred Schukowski presented his new book "Versteckt. Endeckt. Erkundungen und Überraschungen an der Astronomischen Uhr in der Rostocker Marienkirche" (in German, see HERE).
New book released
Recently a book by Prof. Fedor Mitschke appeared in two languages: „Time Machine. Rostock Astronomical Clock of 1472“ (see HERE)
and in German "Zeitmaschine. Astronomische Uhr Rostock von 1472" (see HERE). It was officially introduced on Sept. 11, 2022.
The book contains a detailed description of Rostock Astronomical Clock and aids in reading the various displayed data. It describes the historic evolution of the calendar, the measurement of time and the evolution of clocks, and it explains the significance of astronomic monumental clocks at the time when they were built.
The book includes many pictures and has 56 pages, and is prized at € 14,90. It is available from
- the souvenir booth inside St. Mary’s Church,
- the Rostock Touristik store, Neuer Markt 12 (right across from City Hall)
- the Rostock Museum of Cultural History (Kulturhistorisches Museum), Klosterhof 7
- "andere buchhandlung", Wismarsche Str. 6-7
Update of opening hours and entrance fee
The State Ordinance on Coronavirus Protection was modified on 24.11.2021. In reaction, opening hours were adjusted, and the entrance fee was temporarily suspended.See HERE.
A first step towards UNESCO World Cultural Heritage
Application submitted to KMK
The initiative group „Astronomische Uhr Rostock“ has submitted the formal application to the Ministry of Education, Science and Culture Mecklenburg-Hither Pomerania that Astronomische Uhr Rostock be placed on the German Tentative List for Granting Status of World Cultural Heritage by Unesco.
After evaluation, the Ministry has forwarded the application within the deadline of Okt. 30, 2021 to The Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs of the Länder in the Federal Republic of Germany (short: Kultusministerkonferenz, KMK).
29. 7. 2021: Nomination for UNESCO World Cultural Heritage List
The State Government of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern has decided to nominate the Rostock Astronomical Clock for the UNESCO Tentative List for World Cultural Heritage Site status.
Attention: Temporarily modified opening hours
During the restictions due to the current pandemic, greatly reduced opening hours are in effect for St. Mary’s church, intended for prayer.
Guided tours are currently suspended.
For detail see HERE
January 2021: The successful book „Die astronomische Uhr in St. Marien zu Rostock“ by Prof. Schukowski first came out in 1992, and saw an extended new edition in 2010. Now the updated and greatly extended third edition has appeared. The book is in German and includes an English summary. See Literature.
Restart: June 4, 2020
After restoration work, the clock was restarted today. The date carries special meaning as it is the day on which the clock turns 200 000 days old.
Maintenance Work in April / May 2020
Due to maintenance work on the master clockwork the Astronomical Clock was stopped on April 1, 2020. More than 40 years since the last maintenance, a few things need to be fixed. When it comes to unique historical artifacts like this clock there can be no precise schedule for the duration of the procedure; but expect the standstill to last until the end of May. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Dedication Remarks for the Launch of This Portal
The Bishop in the Diocese Mecklenburg and Pomerania of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Northern Germany: Tilman Jeremias
In perpetual regularity, the stroke of the pendulum of the Astronomical Clock is heard through Rostock’s St. Mary’s Church. But now we hear the twelve o’clock bell: right on the hour. The original mechanical clockwork, a unique piece worldwide, works with stunning precision. The crowd in front of the clock hold their breath; all eyes go up to where the apostle display begins. Christ raises his hand in blessing all the apostles, except Judas the traitor for whom heaven’s door slams shut at the end of the spectacle.
Now the organ begins to play. Numerous visitors of the church feel invited to pause for some moments of tranquility at the daily noon prayer: ten minutes of reflection marking day’s culmination point.
It is for a good reason that this clock of international standing is located in a church. It calls to prayer. It reminds us of life’s transience and God’s eternity. Each year it fascinates many thousands of visitors and invites them for noon prayer. Let it amaze you, too.
Bishop Tilman Jeremias
Translation: Fedor Mitschke
The Rector of the University of Rostock: Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Schareck
With the establishment of the university and the time management enabled by an astronomical clock in what was then the university church, St. Mary’s, a new forward-looking era began in this Hanseatic city in the 15th century: in the spirit of tradition as a ‘living flow’, the tradition of innovations.
Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Schareck
Rector of the University of Rostock
Translation: Fedor Mitschke
The Lord Mayor of the Hanseatic and University City of Rostock: Claus Ruhe Madsen
The Astronomical Clock in St. Mary’s Church is one of the most precious treasures of art in our Hanseatic and University City, and is a mandatory feature of each sight seeing tour in this town. At the same time it illustrates the prosperity of medieval Rostock and the pride of its citizens.
This does not only hold for the time when it was built more than five centuries ago, it is true throughout its entire history. All the time someone was there who took good care of the clock, who - with considerable expertise and meticulousness - saw to its integrity, kept it in good shape, wound its works. Past centuries were ravaged by war, but thanks to loving care by committed individuals this masterpiece of clockmaking has survived.
It could not be located in any better place than in St. Mary’s, the main church right in the city’s center. This consecrated memorial has not only witnessed the various stages of Rostock’s history – from its founding to the time of the Hanseatic League, the Thirty Year’s War, the Great City Fire of 1677, Napoleonic Wars, all the way to the two World Wars of the 20th century and the peaceful revolution in the autumn of 1989. And it has seen the intertwined histories of the city and the university that was established here 600 years ago.
With this internet site the clock reveals its secrets to the general public and helps secure its future. I thank all individuals who get involved to maintain the clock: in the past, today, and tomorrow. In doing so they secure this our most precious treasure for the future.
Claus Ruhe Madsen
Lord Mayor of the Hanseatic and University City of Rostock
Translation: Fedor Mitschke
November 12, 2019: Public Launch of this Database
The University of Rostock was established in 1419 and was opened on Nov. 12 of that same year with a ceremony in St. Mary’s Church. On the same day of this current year 2019, the university celebrates its 600-year anniversary. Also on that same day, this database is made available to the general public.
The Astronomical Clock inside St. Mary’s Church in Rostock exists since 1472. Numerous documents regarding its construction, its history, its operation and its perception have existed scattered among several people and institutions. The Rostock Astronomical Clock is an important monument of cultural history, and therefore it is appropriate to make these documents available to the general public for their perusal and information.
Is the database now “complete”? No! First, we continually scout for further documents, determine their copyright owners and inquire for permission to use the document. If granted, we insert the document into the database. Second, there is an internal area in which we collect relevant documents for which we either do not have copyright permission, or which are of an unsuitable nature for public display (like personal letters). And thirdly, more documents of interest will surely be created in the future. This is why such a database can never be “complete”.
Should you have documents that might be of relevance for the database and that are not yet listed here, we appreciate to hear from you at: WEBMASTER.
Check this space for information concerning future special events. For example, Rostock Astronomical Clock will soon be 550 years old; a report about the celebration is planned to appear here. Stay tuned!
AH designed the technical and organizational structure of this data collection.
AN carried out the initial implementation.
FM conceived this site, curates all content, edits or restores documents where necessary, secures copyrights where applicable, provides the texts and translations, contributes pictures (all photographies without explicit author credits), and performs ongoing updates.
WS gave his valuable and encouraging support, which opened doors and created possibilities.
Please direct all questions and comments to Webmaster .