Wenceslas Square is one of the two most important city squares. It is also location for several of Bohemia Apartments in Prague. Now we would like to present you the story and most important moments with this place and it’s monument.
If you watched any of the television coverage of the death of former Czech President Václav Havel, you‘ll probably have seen one of Prague‘s most famous landmarks – the St Wenceslas statue at the very top of Wenceslas Square. The monument is also perhaps Prague’s most famous statue, and focal point during key moments in Czech history.
A monument has stood on this spot since 1680, although the present statue was unveiled in 1912, after a design process taking 30 years. The sculpture was created by Josef Myslbek and consists of St Wenceslas at the centre, on his mighty horse, flanked by four other Bohemian saints – his mother Ludmila, and Procopius, Adalbert and Agnes. They were added in the 1920s, a few years after Czechoslovakia was founded on 28 October 1918, a date you’ll see on the base of the monument.
Political demonstrations are frequently staged around the statue, especially during the Communist takeover in 1948, and 20 years later, during the Prague Spring. At the same time, the St Wenceslas monument is associated with tragic martyrdom. On October 28,1939, student Jan Opletal, a participant in demonstrations against the Nazi occupation, was shot dead by troops opening fire against protesters. And on January 16, 1969, just in front of the National Museum, 21-year old student Jan Palach set himself alight in protest against the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia.
Twenty years later the St Wenceslas Statue once again the hub of demonstrations, this time of a joyful nature. The statue was covered in posters with political slogans or pictures of Václav Havel, candles were lit at the base, and Czechs and Slovaks in their thousands filled Wenceslas Square, calling for the resignation of the Communist rulers. With a very sad irony, thousands of candles were lit at the base of the statue and posters of the former President covered the plinth, as Czechs remembered Václav Havel, the leader of the Velvet Revolution of 1989.He died on December 18, 2011.