John Lennon Wall, Prague

John Lennon Wall, Prague, Prague Overview

The Beatles’ legacy has held an iconic prestige amongst musicians and music enthusiasts but in Prague, it goes a step further. John Lenon, known across the world, for the peace-loving and harmony-inducing music became the harbinger of rebellion in Prague in the 19th century. His death in 1980 effectively summoned the pacifist youth of Prague to this one commonplace wall as a form of nonviolent protest and painted graffiti championing for a free Czech from the archaic rules of the Communist party. Since then, the John Lenon Wall has excited as a vibrant symbol of peace and freedom, not only in Czech, but inclusive of the rest of the world.

An unknown artist, started this movement without any intention, when he first painted John Lenon’s image along with some of his song lyrics after his death.John Lenon, who never really visited prague in his short life, became the driving force that brought together a lot of like-minded liberal individuals which then led to the Velvet Revolution of 1989. John Lenon inspired graffiti much like art and resistance continued to grow despite the efforts of the Communist Party and played an instrumental role in the freedom of Czech.

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History of the John Lennon Wall

John Lennon Wall

The situation of Prague in the 19th century had grown overtly volatile - no European symbols were allowed or sanctioned under the Communist regime. This led to the ban of many iconic European celebrities who claimed liberal politics. Citizens were prohibited from listening to John Lenon’s music and even curtailed from indulging in any western pop music; any such act punishable by imprisonment. This blatant refusal of authority as well as vandalizing of public property through graffiti was the subject of many thwarting attempts by the government. Security cameras were installed near the wall, the wall was continuously whitewashed, police personnel were increased and surveillance was at an all time high to ensure that this political movement was brought to an end.

These actions infuriated the Czech authorities, and these back and forth attacks led to a clash between students and authorities on the nearby Charles Bridge. Students named their uprising and revolt “Lennonism”, which was disregarded by the Czech government who described these students as mentally deranged. In spite of these efforts, the rebellious youth found ways to avoid getting imprisoned while simultaneously graffiti-ng messages on the John Lenon Wall to further the movement.

John Lennon Wall in Modern Day

John Lennon Wall

Today, the Lennon Wall is a representation of ideas such as freedom and peace. The Sovereign Military Order of Malta owns the wall and allowed the graffiti to continue on the wall. Inspired by the wall and the events attached to it, a similar wall was seen in Hong Kong, on the offices of the central government, during the 2014 Hong Kong Protests. The wall was used to post notes and write messages containing the democratic wishes of Hong Kong citizens.

On the 25th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution of 1989 which led to the fall of the Communist Government of Czech Republic, the entire wall was painted white and only the text “Wall is over” remained. This text was later changed to “War is over”. In April 2019, to mark Earth Day, the wall was painted and graffitied with slogans related to climate change and general awareness about saving the environment.

How To Reach John Lennon Wall, Prague

Take a metro from anywhere in the city to Malostranska metro station. From metro station Malostranska (green line A) take trams no. 12, 20, 22, 23.
The nearest tram stops to Velkoprevorsky namesti are either Malostranske namesti or Hellichova.

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