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The Lennon Wall, Prague

We didn’t set out to visit the Lennon wall. We just sort of found it while we were exploring that part of the city.

It was our third and last day in Prague. Our son wanted to spend some time in Lesser Town (or the Small Quarter) beneath Prague Castle to simply take in the sights.

So we did.

View of Lesser Town from Prague Castle

We crossed Charles Bridge with its statues of long gone saints. Just before it ended, on the left, there were steps that took us to the town below.

“Let’s see what’s down these steps,” our son said.

So we followed him down to a square. There was a small canal running near it and shops on the other side.

Heading into Lesser Town from Charles Bridge the day before. We were headed for the castle.

We walked and looked at all the intricate buildings. Soon we came across embassies of different countries.

It is there my husband looks at his phone.

“Hey, this says the Lennon wall is only three minutes away. Shall we check it out?”

“Yes, let’s do that,” I respond. I had overheard our guide at the castle yesterday ask another traveller if they were going to the Lennon wall.

I was curious to see it.

My husband wanted a photo of me in front of the wall with the bag I carried all around Prague

The wall was on the other side of the French embassy and formed part of the building owned by the Sovereign Military Order of Malta.

If I didn’t realise its significance, it would have just been another heavily graffitied wall perfect for Instagram.

But this wasn’t just another colourful wall.

During the Communist era this wall was an outlet for people to pour out their hopes and frustrations. They say the Czech people have been decorating it with poems and messages against the regime since the 1960s. But when John Lennon was murdered in 1980, the wall received its first graffiti connected to the singer. It was a single image of Lennon with lyrics to his songs.

They say to the young people of the day, Lennon was a symbol of freedom from oppression and tyranny. Try as they might to cover the graffiti, the government could not stop people coming to the wall to express their grievances as well as their dreams for a better future.

They came in droves. And the graffiti continued.

After the Velvet Revolution in 1989 and the end of Communism in the country, this wall in Prague becomes a symbol for activism around the world.

All you need is 사랑 (love)

After days of looking at buildings and monuments steeped in stories of people long gone, I felt I saw the beating heart of Prague plastered on that wall. One that had endured so much for so long and had great hopes for their young country.

For me that wall was a symbol of stubborn tenacity from a people who refused to bow to oppression.

To think we almost missed it.

If you’re ever in the neighbourhood, I would encourage you to go and see it.

Be warned though. People say there are loads of tourists in the summer taking Instagram worthy selfies in front of that wall.

We went on a rainy winter day. So there weren’t as many people there and we could take all the pictures we liked without too much frustration.

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February 2022
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