John Lennon Wall - History and Fun Facts
Brief History of John Lennon Wall
During the Communist regime in Prague, which lasted from February 1948 till November 1989, listening to Western music was a risky business. Records of bands like Beatles and Rolling Stones were not sold in stores, so people were smuggling them from the closest countries of the Western Block. Listening to songs about liberty and love provided an escape for people who lived under the Socialist rule.
John Lennon, as a musician and Human Rights activist, was especially popular among the Communist opposition. His appeal to "make love not war" resonated with the Czech population and created a huge fan base.
After John Lennon's death on the 8th of December 1980, a young Czech artist made a graffiti dedicated to John Lennon on this wall. More people supported this initiative and the plain white wall turned rainbow with quotes of John Lennon's songs and wishes for world peace. Since then, Lennon Wall became one of the centers of political protests against the communist regime and its oppression of freedom of speech. It all escalated during the Velvet Revolution protest in November 1989, when more than a million people flooded the streets of Prague to proclaim their independence from the oppressive regime.
Nowadays, John Lennon Wall is visited by thousands of tourists who leave their messages there. It even inspired the creation of another John Lennon Wall in Hongkong after its streets were taken by protests in summer 2019.
Fun Facts about John Lennon Wall
- Technically, the wall belongs to the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, whose church and monastery complex is located behind the wall.
- On November 17th, 2014, the wall was painted over and left with only one message "the Wall is Over." It was done by a group of art students, who felt the monument lost its original purpose. They were almost sued by Maltese Cross Order for doing that, and the writing was quickly corrected into "the War is Over."
- Nowadays, the John Lennon Wall is guarded by CCTV, since the vandalizing of the wall started to spread to other historical monuments in this area.
- One of the oldest sycamore trees in Prague is located right behind the John Lennon Wall.
When is John Lennon Wall Open?
All the time. John Lennon Wall is a free to access type of monument.
What's the best way to see John Lennon Wall?
Definitely try to visit during the day. The earlier in the morning you make it, the better. This is the one place in Prague where you can get creative with your photographs and selfies and there are fewer people visiting in the morning. You can also visit during the evening, but the street lamps don't provide enough light to see it well.
How do I get to the John Lennon Wall?
- Finish crossing Charles Bridge from the Old Town to Lesser Town side. Take Lazenska street and pass by the Church of Our Lady under Chain. It has a giant Maltese Cross flag, so you won't miss it. Take a left turn and voila, you are next to the French Embassy where the John Lennon Wall is located!
Our Local Guide Tip
- After taking photos at the John Lennon Wall, you can visit the St. Nicholas Church, the biggest Baroque shrine in Prague, or take a break from sightseeing in Kampa Park.
See more of our Prague Travel Tips.
Author: Valeriia Zahradnikova and Vaclav Zahradnik, Prague guides certified by Prague City Tourism agency. Valeriia and Vaclav have worked in tourism for over 6 years and have guided thousands of Prague visitors.