Wenceslas Square is the biggest square in Prague and a business and cultural centre of the city.
Wenceslas Square has its origins in 14th century when King Charles IV founded the New Town in 1348 and used to be a Horse Market. When the statue of the horse with St Wenceclas was placed there 19th century the square was renamed.
At the very top of Wenceslas Square there is the monumental neo-Renaissance building of the National Museum that overlooks the whole square.
Located in Wenceslas Square, is Wiehl's House, beautifully decorated with polychromic sgraffiti.
The house was built in the Middle Ages, it wasn't until the 19th century that architect Antonin Wiehl bought the house, demolished it, and built a new house here between 1895/1896.
He built the house in Czech neo-renaissance style, which included a octagonal turret that was used as an observation gallery. Documents from 1896 were stored in the turret, in a soldered copper pipe, quite a common occurrence in towers of churches at the same time. Found were newspapers, payroll's, reproduction of the hand radiograph and a memorial letter signed by Antonín Wiehl and other house builders. Written documentation was found on the latest inventions of the time that changed people's lives.
I loved the facade decoration and the series of six paintings describing the life of a wealthy merchant. Each painting bears an inscription.
The painted scenes begin with the baptism of the child and a nursing mother with the inscription "An old woman weaves – the God only leads thread."
Another painting is of a Scholar teaching children while his Horse stands by.
This inscription reads: "The tree stands as it grows."
The third painting is the marriage between the young merchant and a girl with an apple of knowledge in her hand.
"You got me, you do not care, you lose - you will know."
The next painting shows the Merchant's shop.
Another is when the Merchant was sent to war to defend the homeland, so the painting is of the old man saying goodbye to his son's family.
Over the last picture, is the symbol of death and the inscription says "There is no medicine against Morena"
The paintings were restored between 1977/1978 and were a real picture!
Palace Rokoko was a rather dark building built on the site of another Palace from the 17th century. This landmark was built between 1912-1916 in Art Nouveau & Cubist style. The façade details on the building were lovely, but what I liked most of all, were all the different faces peering down onto the square and the Lion's! Quite a different style of building.
The building now contains a shopping centre.
The World Heritage listed Wenceslas Square is like many Squares in Prague, that is, they are not Square. Wenceslas Square is one of these. It is a very long rectangle with the beautiful neo-classical Czech National Museum at one end.
King Charles created this Square in 1348 as part of his plans for a large 'new' town, more than three times the size of the "old" town. At the beginning, it was named the Horse Market as Horses were stabled here to be sold at the Market. In the 19th century, it was re-named after the patron saint of Bohemia, Saint Wenceslas. This was when construction of large stately buildings along the square took place.
Important events took place here, like the declaration of the First Republic in 1918, It was where the Nazi's held mass demonstrations, Protests against the Soviet occupation in 1969, and the protest march that led to the end of the Communist era were held here.
Perhaps the saddest event took place on 16th January 1969, when student Jan Palach set himself on fire to protest the invasion of Czechoslovakia by the Soviet Union in 1968.
I enjoyed walking the Square, looking at the historic buildings and many outdoor cafes & Restaurant's.
I wasn't around at night to see the many Prostitutes who ply this area.
One of the city's most historic squares, "Wenceslas Square"was formerly the horse market.
The once muddy swath between the buildings played host to the country's equine auctioneers.
The top of the square, where the National Museum now stands, was the outer wall of the New Town fortifications, bordering the Royal Vineyards. Unfortunately, the city's busiest highway now cuts the museum off from the rest of the square it dominates. Trolleys streamed up and down the square until the early 1980s.
Today Wenceslas Square forms the commercial heart of Prague. It is a popular meeting place and the many hotels, shops and restaurants around the square attract throngs of tourists and locals alike.
After Old Town Square, Wenceslas Square probably is the most important public square in Prague. Located in the New Town area, Wenceslas Square definitely has a more modern feel to it than the other square. From its humble beginnings as a horse market, the square has grown to become one of the city's most vibrant commercial areas. There are numerous stores, restaurants, clubs and hotels in the area, and several of the city's more recent historical events have taken place there. While the country was still ruled by the Communist Party, Wenceslas Square became the site of frequent political manifestations, most notably in 1969 when two students committed suicide by self-immolation to protest against the Soviet occupation.
Most of the buildings around the square date back to the end of the 19th century and feature the work of Prague's best architects at the time. At the top of the square, you'll find the National Museum, a beautiful Neo-Renaissance palace completed in 1890. In front of it stands an equestrian statue of St. Wenceslas, the patron saint of Bohemia, and close to it you'll also find the small memorial to the victims of Communism. One of the most famous hotels around the square is the Grand Hotel Europa; by all accounts, it hasn't aged very well but its striking Art Nouveau facade is still worth seeing. Another building I had a personal interest in seeing was the Assicurazioni Generali building, where Franz Kafka got his first job as an insurance clerk in 1907.
One of the famous squares in Prague, Wenceslas Square is the imposing square that can hold about 40,000 people. Wenceslas Square is 70 meters long, 60 meters wide, a relatively large public space. Here they had the famous demonstrations against the communist government. What is now Wenceslas Square used to be a horse market in the Middle Ages.
At the top of the Square is the equestrian statue of St Wenceslas, the patron saint of Bohemia. Wenceslas, also known as the good king Wenceslas, was named king after his death in 935 AD. During his lifetime he was Duke of Bohemia. He was sainted for his contribution to bringing Christianity to the Czech lands. Legend has it that he was murdered by his brother. Behind the statue is the imposing building of the National Museum.
If you look at the statue I found it interesting that King Wenceslas was surrounded not by fierce looking warriors but instead by contemplative monks (or priests). These figures at the base of the equestrian statue represent the four Czech patron saints- St Ludmilla, St Prokop, St. Agnes and St. Adalbert. I thought to myself you don't really see that as often, most of the time great leaders are portrayed more as great warriors or conquerors. Just a thought.
The Square is at the edge of the Old Town. Lots of decent shopping, I especially found some real nice bookstores. At the bottom of the square you just follow the crowds and you will end up at Old Town Square.
Wenceslas Square was established as the Horse Market by Charles IV in 1348. This square is of great historical significance to the Czechs because it was the centre of demonstrations and important events of Czech history.
Today, this square is one of the busiest areas in Prague due to the many stores, hotels, restaurants, nightclubs and casinos in this area.
The statue of St. Wenceslas at the top of the square was created by Josef Václav Myslbek and placed there in 1912. A plaque nearby is dedicated to the victims of Communism.
On Jan 16, 1969 Jan Palach, a university student, set himself on fire to protest the Soviet invasion (of 1968). His funeral resulted in a giant protest against the occupation.
The cross was placed at the spot were Palach supposedly fell..after the end of the communist regime in 1989. It is a very small memorial directly in front of the statue of King Wenceslas.
I was surprised that there wasn't a larger memorial of this kind in Prague...did anyone else feel that way?
This square is where the protests in their Velvet Revolution took place in the 80's and is still the center much activity. It was built in 1348 and named for their beloved king (and subject of a Christmas song). It includes the National Museum. It is quite beautiful on the inside and is a science museum.
Wenceslas square is more an avenue than a square. Lined with shops and hotels, it is the centre of nightlife (if you're male be prepared to meet "quick friends" in the square).
Behind king Wenceslas statue stands the monumental National Museum.
This square is the center of both business and culture. It's where you'll find the National Museum at the end of the boulevard right after the monument of King Wenceslas.
They call this area the new town - I'm seeing a lot of old buildings though.
This large square is lined up and down with all your standard fast food and recognized shopping places. At the South end is the National Museum, which provides a great backdrop. This would be a place to visit if you wanted to spend an afternoon shopping, but not much more. I sensed a more scruffier crowd, but then again it was at around 7 AM when mostly scruffs are left standing.
Equestrian sculpture of St Vaclav (St Wenceslas) and four Saints – St Adalbert of Prague, St Ludmila, St Prokop and St Agnes "Czech", is the most famous work of Josef Vaclav Myslbek, founder of the modern Czech sculpting style. Creating of this sculpture lasted for more than 20 years, and since it had been located in the center of Wenceslas Square it had become one of Prague's most recognizable landmarks and a symbol of Czech statehood. The inscription on the base of the sculpture, designed by architect Alois Dryak, says: "Svaty Vaclave, vevodo ceske zeme, knize nas, nedej zahynouti nam ni budoucim" ("Saint Wenceslas, duke of the Czech land, prince of ours, do not let perish us nor our descendants").
My friend Kristi and her husband have left Prague today, destined for Austria. Without their dinner-planning expertise, I'm at a loss as to where to eat my last meal in Prague. I wander the streets aimlessly for a few hours, looking for a restaurant's address that I had jotted on a piece of paper before giving up on it and tossing the paper in a garbage can. It's 11:00 PM and most of the restaurants are finished serving food now anyway; but I'm still starving.
I find myself in Wenceslas Square and approach a sausage stand--I've been eyeballing these sausages for days and was dying to try one. I order a "sausage on a bun" and a Diet Pepsi and sit down at a nearby table. No sooner have I taken my seat than I'm approached by three very large, young, and tough looking hobos--one of which is actually wearing an eye patch. "Cripes! They look like pirates!," I think to myself, "This is going to be interesting."
The largest guy, who is obviously the gang leader, says to me, "Excuse me, sir--could you spare some change or a cigarette?"
For personal safety reasons, I decide that I'm not really in a position to decline them. But I then do something which surprises even me... I pull out my pack of cigarettes and say, "Here--take two each." I then produce a 200 koruna ($10 USD) note but before passing it to the three thugs I ask, "Would you guys do me a big favour?" They look baffled but nod in agreement. "Could you keep people away from me while I eat my dinner?" The largest one says, "Definitely, that will not be a problem." I pass them the note and they walk a hundred feet away--back to the shadowy spot where they were standing before I showed up on the scene.
Wenceslas Square is really just a slightly filthy shopping street with a few department stores, some restaurants and casinos, a small flower-bed, and a big, bronze statue of St. Wenceslas on horseback. It also has lots of aggressive panhandlers, homeless people, and a few prostitutes--especially after darkness falls. It's not somewhere I would normally choose to hang-out and eat because it's too busy. ...A bit like having a meal in New York's Times Square or on Toronto's Yonge Street. There are far more appropriate and quaint places to eat in this city.
Wenceslas Square does have an impressive history though. Founded in 1348 as a horse market as part of a plan by King Charles IV (Wenceslas), the square has been the site of many important events; including the mass demonstrations during the "Velvet Revolution" in 1989 which eventually led to the fall of communism in Czechoslovakia.
As I eat my sausage, which looked fantastic but in reality is dry and chewy, I watch with amusement as my band of hired pirates actually keep up their end of our bargain. They've been darting in and out of their hiding spot to intercept panhandlers from approaching me. One old woman, dressed in grey rags, is angrily yelling at then--she can't understand why they won't let her near me.
As I get up to leave, the three thugs give me a toothless grin and wave goodbye.
The next morning I wake up with the worst heartburn of my life! It's excruciatingly painful and lasts a full two days afterwards. Avoid street meat in Prague at all costs!