Starting life as a tribute to musical icon and peace activist John Lennon after his untimely death in 1980, Prague’s John Lennon Wall quickly became a symbol of peace and free speech for young Czechs angry and disillusioned with the country’s communist regime—much western pop music was banned under the regime, and some Czech musicians were even imprisoned for playing it.
The original painted image of Lennon was quickly surrounded by political graffiti and Beatles lyrics, becoming an important part of the nonviolent rebellion of Czech youth and a constant source of annoyance for the police, who repeatedly painted over the wall, only to have the graffiti reappear just days later. Today, it is one of Prague’s most vibrant attractions, better known for its aesthetic appeal that as a symbol of resistance.
Many city tours, by bus, foot, or Segway, make time for a visit to (and photo opportunity at) the John Lennon Wall. Tours that are specifically focused on Prague’s Cold War history provide more in-depth insight into the wall’s significance within the dissident movement. Additionally, the wall features in tours of sites important to Prague’s musical history.
Things to Know Before You Go
- John Lennon Wall is a must-visit for history buffs, Beatles fans, and photographers.
- The wall is continuously changing, with new graffiti burying the old.
- What is thought to be the largest sycamore in Prague grows behind the wall. According to legend, Beethoven loved sitting under it during his time in the city.
- The wall is surrounded by coffee shops, and even a John Lennon–themed pub, making it a pleasant area to spend some time.
- If the site is crowded, you will likely have to wait in line to take your photo.
How to Get There
The John Lennon Wall is located in Velkopřevorské Square, opposite the French Embassy, in the Malá Strana district. It’s a 10-minute walk from Malostranská metro station and a five-minute walk from the Charles Bridge.
When to Get There
As there are no opening hours, you can visit any time of day. However, throngs of tourists and selfie-takers are at their largest in the afternoon. Aim for early evening when the crowds are thinner and the golden light casts a favorable glow.
A Recent Controversy
The wall hit the headlines again on November 17, 2014, the 25th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution, when it was whitewashed by a group of art students and adorned with the simple statement “Wall Is Over.” The Knights of Malta, who own the wall, filed a complaint for vandalism against the students but later retracted it. The wall has since regained its colorful look with “Wall Is Over” changed to the more poignant “War Is Over.”