Wenceslas Square (Václavské náměstí in Czech) is mainly a shopping, business and cultural centre in Prague. It holds its name after Saint Wenceslas, the patron saint of the Czech lands. You can see his statue on the top of the square. Thanks to its location, Wenceslas Square is a popular meeting point for many locals and visitors to Prague.
The first days of Wenceslas Square
Originally, the Wenceslas Square became a centre of newly founded New Town in Prague in 1348. Its original name was Koňský trh (Horse Market). The Horse Market was bordered by Koňská brána (Horse Gate). Later, when the gate was taken down in 1875, the construction of National Museum started. Wenceslas Square holds its current name since 1848. Actually it is more of a boulevard than a square, being 750 m long and 60 m wide. Its area takes about 45 000 cubic metres. There was also a tram rail which was removed later in 1980. On both sides of the square, you will find many shops, restaurants, cafés, bars, theatres and a cinema. Some people call it a shopaholic’s heaven.
Wenceslas Square and modern times
Wenceslas Square is a place where many key events of Czech history took place. The Czechoslovak Republic was founded here on 28th October 1918. In 1969, Jan Palach burnt himself to death here, protesting against soviet army occupation. On the same year, 150 000 people came to Wenceslas Square to celebrate victory of Czech hockey team against Russian hockey team. Even more people gathered here during the Velvet Revolution in 1989, when the Communist party resigned. Until today, many commemorative events are happening here throughout the year.
Statue of St. Wenceslas
Author of the statue of St. Wenceslas on Wenceslas Square is a Czech sculptor Josef Václav Myslbek. He was working on this statue for over 30 years, between 1887 and 1924. When it comes to design of accessories which St. Wenceslas is wearing, particularly the sword, helmet and chain armor, Myslbek took inspiration from the treasure of St. Wenceslas. It is said that when he was working on the sculpture, he lay down in a riding hall, letting a horse step over him in order to sculpt its muscles perfectly. In addition, part of the statue are statues of other Czech patrons saints – St. Ludmila, St. Anežka, St. Prokop and St. Vojtěch. On the pedestal, you can notice writing saying: “Svatý Václave, vévodo české země, kníže náš, nedej zahynouti nám ni budoucím” (“Saint Wenceslas, duke of the Czech land, prince of ours, do not let perish us nor our descendants”).
How to get to Wenceslas Square?
Wenceslas Square is well accessible by foot, metro or a tram. Firstly, you can take a metro to Můstek or Muzeum. Muzeum metro station is located on top of the square, where the National Museum and St. Wenceslas’ statue are situated. Můstek is on the bottom part of the square. Secondly, you can take a tram to Vodičkova or Jindřišská, which are both streets perpendicular to the square. Thirdly, the square is also accessible for cars and many buildings offer underground parking. Lastly, we recommend walking by feet if you stay with us in our Bohemia Apartments which are located conveniently right next to Wenceslas Square, in Vodičkova street. Therefore, if you stay with us, you will be right in the city centre and you will have all the main sights of Prague including Wenceslas Square in walking distance from your apatment.