Wenceslas Square, Prague

Wenceslas Square
Wenceslas Square has been the business and cultural center of Prague's New Town for 600+ years with hotels, banks, businesses, independent and department stores, museums, and theatres. Originally a horse market and center of the New Town created by Charles IV in the 14th Century when Prague was the capitol of the Holy Roman Empire. Its current architectural style is varied, dating from a reconstruction of the 19th Century.

At the head of the square is the pictured statue of St. Wenceslas, mounted on his horse, the patron saint of Bohemia. He is a national hero, having been murdered by"evil brother" Borislav more than 1000 years ago. The statue is by Josef Myslbek, begun in the 1887 and finished in 1924. At the base, other important Czech saints include St. Adalbert, St. Ludmila, and St. Agnes. Just below this dominating statue are two smaller memorials. One honors those who died during the Communist occupation. The second honors a philosophy student who, in 1968 self immolated to protest the Communist occupation. When Jan Palach died several days later, his funeral attracted 800,000 mourners. The Velvet Revolution, which led to the end of Communist rule in 1989, was centered at his memorial.

Few site are more important to today's Czech Republic than this square. In 1918 Czechoslovakian independence was declared from the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The Nazis used this square for their demonstrations. In 1969, the Czech ice hockey team defeated the Russian team in a championship and the celebration of over 150,000 was again centered here. The square can hold over 400,000 and is sacred ground.

There are many hotels and restaurants as well as theaters and museums near the Square, including the famous Art Nouveau Hotel Europa, but for the out of country tourist, it appeared mostly as a middle level shopping mall and home to some fast food restaurants. Its major importance to a visitor is the realization of the world-changing events which have ocurred here.

  • Directions: Metro line C station Narodni muzeum or line A station Mustek.




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