The Story of Prague’s John Lennon Wall That Extends Beyond Graffiti

Place Details

Name: Lennon Wall

Rating: 4.0 / 5

City: Malá Strana

Country: Czechia

Address: Velkopřevorské nám., 118 00 Malá Strana, Czechia

Website: Visit the Website

Hours of Operation: Open 24 hours

Location

About Lennon Wall

The Lennon Wall in Prague is a testament to the spirit of freedom and dissent. Originating as an act of defiance against Communist rule, the wall has evolved into a dynamic mural filled with political statements, graffiti, and art.

It captures the essence of hope and unity through its colorful display, prominently featuring an iconic portrait of John Lennon. Lennon’s music and advocacy for peace resonate profoundly through each piece of art displayed on the wall.

History of the John Lennon Wall

Colorful John Lennon mural at Lennon Wall Prague, a vibrant symbol of peace and art
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Over in Lesser Town or Malá Strana in Prague, across from the French Embassy, you’ll find a wall covered in street art. It’s known as the John Lennon Wall and has been since the 1980s when Lennon was assassinated. In truth, the wall’s history of being a place for public art and engagement goes back to the 1960s.

In its early pre-Lennon days, it was known as the Crying Wall. It was a place where locals could write their disagreements with communism. John Lennon became covered in Beatles song lyrics partly because Western pop music was banned during the communist regime.

Czech-based rock band The Plastic People of the Universe even helped rally people against communism, an act that forced the band underground until communism fell. As Czech citizens rallied against, in particular, the communist regime, the wall became an open-air gallery.

There are Beatles lyrics, love poems, and a now-covered painting of Lennon himself. The Velvet Revolution may have ended communism in the Czech Republic, yet it hasn’t stopped Czech youth and artists from expressing themselves at the wall.

In 2014, a group of art students painted the whole graffiti-covered wall white with the message “wall is over.” From time to time, artists have taken over the wall for a range of local and global causes, from climate change to martyrdom.

The Prague John Lennon Wall has also inspired walls elsewhere in the world, like Hong Kong, Toronto, and Auckland.

See Related: Best Things to Do in Prague, Czech Republic

John Lennon’s Connection to Prague

Graffiti art at the iconic Lennon Wall in Prague.
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

People are often surprised to learn that John Lennon himself never visited Prague. So why on Earth is there a John Lennon wall in Prague?

Yet John Lennon’s reputation for defying the man, non-violent resistance, and fighting for peace inspired artistic expression. The once-typical wall became an open-air gallery reminding everyone of the importance of freedom, peace, and love.

It was something that was felt strongly by those artists who opposed communist rule in the former Czechoslovakia. What is a more fitting place for such a memorial than in the Czech capital?

See Related: 3 Days in Prague Itinerary

How to Visit the John Lennon Wall

A high-resolution photo of the Lennon Wall in Prague filled with a diverse mix of graffiti, paintings, and written messages in various colors.
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

As with visiting major attractions like Prague Castle or the Charles Bridge, it’s best to visit the John Lennon Wall early in the morning. Luckily, you’ll need to cross the Charles Bridge anyway if you’re coming to Malá Strana from Old Town, so it’s a convenient stop.

Visiting the wall is free. As a symbol of freedom and Western Culture, the wall is a must-see for many folks visiting Prague. Whether it’s to snap a picture (or five) there or add their favorite Beatles songs to the collection, everyone has a reason to see the John Lennon Wall. Photos here are special partly because the wall is always changing, so it will be different, potentially even day-to-day.

You can easily find the wall using the interactive map above and on Google Maps. It’s only a five-minute walk from the Lesser Town Bridge Tower at the end of the Charles Bridge. Even if the John Lennon Wall is just a short stop on your day in Malá Strana, it’s an easy stopover as you enter the neighborhood.

If you don’t go to the wall too early, there’s a good chance you’ll hear music before seeing the memorial. That’s your sign that you’re headed in the right direction.

Rules of the John Lennon Wall

Alt-text: Colorful graffiti mural at Lennon Wall in Prague showcasing creativity and social commentary.
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

While the John Lennon Wall in Prague is covered in Beatles-inspired graffiti, that doesn’t mean it’s without rules. The local authorities have implemented several regulations to maintain a safe environment and keep the wall in working order.

In 2019, the authorities made it illegal for non-approved artists to add street art to the wall. Visitors can, however, write in pen/pencil/chalk on certain parts of the wall.

  • No unauthorized spray paint
  • No busking
  • No posters
  • No damage to existing art
  • Pen and chalk private messages in designated areas only
  • Peaceful music is allowed
Amanda Finn
WRITTEN BY

Amanda Finn

Amanda (she/they) is a Chicago-based queer travel, arts, and lifestyle writer who is passionate about exploring the world. Their work has been featured in Newcity Stage, The Chicago Reader, Huffington Post, and Yahoo, as well as the November 2022 book, "Chicago Like a Local" and other travel journals available on Amazon. Amanda's favorite destinations include Costa Rica, Prague, Dublin, Hong Kong, and every Disney park they've visited.

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