Photo courtesy of Prague Experience
Without a tourist map or guidebook, you would never know this long pedestrian-friendly street is actually the world-famous Wenceslas Square. It is the commercial and cultural hub of Prague. The street is lined with beautiful buildings and houses. Sandwiched in between runs beautiful gardens and green space. It's equally hard to believe that in the Middle Ages, this area was primarily a horse market and venue for public celebrations.
The square began to gain notoriety when in 1969, a student named Jan Palach set himself on fire in the square in protest of the Soviet Union's invasion of Czechoslovakia. A memorial bronze cross lies outside the National Museum embedded at the spot where he fell.
Nevertheless, it was the event that took place in 1989 that Wenceslas Square is most remembered for. It was here that more than 500,000 students and citizens gathered to protest the policies of the former Communist regime. The government surrendered after only a week of demonstrations. Amazement fell on everyone watching the events unfold when not a single shot was fired or a single person died. The first democratic government in 40 years was led into office. The non-violent transfer of power became known as the "Velvet Revolution."
A stroll down this long boulevard is a great way to pay homage to those who courageously changed the history of Prague.
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