One of the most surprising places to visit in Prague is the John Lennon Wall – sometimes known as the Lennon Wall or the John Lennon Peace Wall. If you ever get the chance to go to Prague, don’t miss the opportunity to spend a few minutes here. It’s very close to the Charles Bridge.
It is a colourful, ever-changing, graffiti-covered wall that really captures the eye and the imagination. I was lucky enough to have read about the wall in my Everyman MapGuide prior to arriving in Prague – I was so glad that I did read about it.
Situated on Velkopřevoské Square, the wall stretches approximately 20 metres. The original portrait of Lennon is long gone now, lost under layers and layers of spray-paint. Over the years, visitors continue to add lyrics from Beatles tracks, message of love and peace and their own names. I spent quite some time reading the things written. I could have spent a lot longer there – every time I looked I noticed something else.
Lennon? Why John Lennon? He wasn’t from the Czech Republic, so you would be forgiven for being confused. I was confused too.
Well, the answer to that is that Lennon was a symbol of peace and a hero to the pacifist youth of Central and Eastern Europe during the totalitarian era. Before 1989 there was a ban on western pop music, especially songs by Lennon, which praised freedom. After Lennon’s death his portrait was painted on the wall, defying the authorities. From that moment the wall became a symbol of peace and freedom. There are also claims that the wall helped inspire the non-violent Velvet Revolution that led to the fall of Communism in the former Czechoslovakia.