Prague – Wenceslas Monument and Square

My first post of Prague must be about Wenceslas Square because, like many of us, it was our meeting point and this location is definitely a good place to start your visit. By the way, it is best to stay by the equestrian monument because the square is long enough to miss someone.

Wenceslas Square is not a typical park, it is a boulevard with a median strip which separates the traffic. The central section of this square has benches, monuments and some creative landscaping with flowers.  

While this square is considered the “new town” section, it can be misleading because it is not that new. In fact, it was created by Charles IV in 1348.

Originally, the square was a Horse Market but, as time went by, its function changed as well.  In 1884, a tram was installed, first drawn by horses.  Later, the tram was dismantled to give way to a more luxurious boulevard with boutiques, theaters, banks, hotels and restaurants. That was back in 1922.  

One thing remained over time. It is a gathering point where the voices of the locals are heard.   For political reasons, or to sing a victory at a sport event, for demonstration and for celebration, this place has been the scene of historical actions which includes executions, the 1918 declaration of the First Czechoslovak Republic and the 1968 protests against the Soviet invasion. The following year, at a month’s interval, the self-immolation of Jan Palach and Jan Zajic was a protest of the invasion for a better life for others. In 1989, demonstrations were held to celebrate the fall of communism.

During our visit in 2017, we were witness to a minor sports event celebration that was, for us, destabilizing since we are not used to this but overall was meant to be a happy moment.  Mass assembly can surely be threatening.

Today, in the central portion of the boulevard, there is an equestrian bronze statue of St. Wenceslas, Leader of the Czech with four saints on the lower part of the monument.  The statue is a landmark in Prague. Often seen on postcards and travel guides, it is located at the top section of the boulevard in front of the imposing National Museum.

The sign on the monument, in Czech, can be translated to: St Wenceslas, Leader of the Czech Lands, our Prince, do not let us die nor those yet to come.

Unfortunately, at the time of our visit, the National Museum was under major renovation which affected the beauty of the square. Nearby, when next to the statue, you are close to the Prague State Opera.

The square is also a place to rest.  Take the time to read the quotes of famous people written on the benches on Wenceslas Square; it is nice. You will also notice that the buildings on the boulevard offer a diverse architectural style.

When in the area, you are within walking distance to main attractions. You are about a 5 minute walk to the old town square. If you do not know where to start or if you need a meeting point, I can confirm it is a good place.

2 comments

  1. […] The 65.7 meter (215 foot) St. Henry’s lookout is considered the tallest freestanding bell tower in Prague.  The tower, built around 1472-1475, was first built of wood and was part of the church next door which is definitely a place to visit.  The clock on the tower was added a century later. Over the years, a more solid construction made of stone was determined to be more suitable. This area of the city was not spared from invaders or natural events but today the tower still rises proudly in the new town, close to the Wenceslas Square. […]

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