Originally, the John Lennon Wall was a normal old wall in the old city of Prague. Nowadays, it is covered in colorful street art and is a point of attraction for both young and old. Even though it is named after john Lennon, visitors can never know what they will see as the wall is in constant change.
a symbol of peace – John Lennon Wall
John Lennon never visited Prague. Nonetheless, he was a hero for the Czech youth. While his songs were not allowed as “Western music”, his songs symbolized freedom and resistance against oppression and were listened to secretly by large parts of the people. After the murder of John Lennon in 1980, an unknown artist painted the portrait of the musician on the wall across the French embassy close to the Charles Bridge at night. Quotes like “Give Peace a Chance” were added. Soon, many other messages and dreams followed, which were perceived as subversive by the government and meant danger for their authors. This way, the wall turned into a symbol of peaceful resistance against the communist government.
In 1988, concrete complaints about the government were written on the wall, which led to a violent clash between students and police on the Charles Bridge.
The Wall in Times of Peace
In 1998, the wall was painted white. Even though the portrait of John Lennon was already buried under layers of paint, concerns were raised that this renewal would wipe of the artistic spirit of the street art. This was, however, not the case. Soon after the wall was painted white, it returned to its original colorful image.
The wall today is a memorial for John Lennon and his music, but it remains especially a symbol for international peace messages, which supported the peaceful revolution of the youth of Prague.