Wenceslas Square (Václavské Námesti), one of Prague’s largest public squares, is actually more of a boulevard. Wide and tree-lined with sidewalk cafes and stylish boutiques, it feels modern and cosmopolitan. The square is bursting with history—from its intricate art nouveau buildings to its poignant memorial to the victims of Soviet occupation. The Basics
Home to numerous brand-name stores and plenty of restaurants, Wenceslas Square is the commercial heart of Prague. It was designed in the 14th century as the centerpiece of New Town (Nove Mesto). It was first used as a horse market, and later renamed after Wenceslas, Bohemia’s patron saint. In 1918, the country’s independence was declared here, and it was a major site of protests against communism in 1989.
Lined with impressive buildings, such as the art nouveau Hotel Europa, and presided over by the neo-Renaissance National Museum, the square is a natural starting point for walking and biking tours of the city. In front of the museum stands a statue of St. Wenceslas by Josef Vaclav Myslbek. At the bottom of the museum steps, you’ll find a cross on the sidewalk, a memorial to Jan Palach and Jan Zajic who burned themselves to death in protest at the Soviet occupation in 1969. Things to Know Before You Go
- Wenceslas Square is a public space open 24 hours a day.
- The square is wheelchair accessible.
- The popular Museum of Communism can be found nearby on Celnici Street.
- Guided tours can provide detailed information about the squares’ historical significance.
How to Get There
The square is a frequent stop on guided tours of the city and is served by Metro stations Mustek (lines A and B) at the center of the square and Muzeum (lines A and C) at the top. Tram line nos. 3, 5, 6, 9, 14, and 24 stop here. It is not recommended to drive to the square. The square is walkable from other locations in Prague city center. When to Get There
The square itself is open to the public 24 hours a day year-round, although most large stores open from 9am–8pm (exact times differ). Cafes and restaurants generally stay open later. The square can be busy with tourists year-round, especially during the summer months. Prague’s National Museum
With a huge collection of more than 14 million items covering natural history, arts, music, and more, the Prague National Museum offers a wealth of information about the world around us. With enough to keep the whole family interested for hours, it’s a worthwhile option for Prague’s sometimes rainy days.