Are you a Beatles fan? If so, a detour to the John Lennon Wall is a must during a trip to Prague. It is an otherwise non-descript wall, which has been filled with Lennon-inspired graffiti and short lyrics from the Beatles' songs, since the 1980s.
Did the Beatles ever visit and perform in Prague? Nope. Was John Lennon a huge star in Prague? Not really. So what accounts for this tribute to him?
Apparently, Western pop songs (including the Beatles') were banned during the Communist regime; and after his untimely death in 1980, he became a hero to the youth as well as a symbol of their fight for freedom against the totalitarian authorities. Click on what the website Prague.net has to say about the Lennon Wall.
A steady stream of tourists flock to the site, and there is usually at least a busker or two, singing (what else?) Lennon songs.
A visit to the wall is sometimes included in local walking tour itineraries, but not always; so it is best to ask the guide first. Otherwise, it can be a bit difficult to find it on your own. From the Old Town, just cross the Charles Bridge (itself a unique sight), go down the flight of stairs at the end, and start asking for directions.
His widow, Yoko Ono, even visited the wall in 2003 ( Photo credit: The Atlantic)
Epilogue: In November 2014 (around one month after my visit), a group of art students called "Prague Services" covered up all the graffiti with white paint, and put in the words "War is Over!" in bold black text. They wanted the wall to give way to new messages for artists of this generation.
What would John Lennon have had to say about this? No one knows for sure, but i reckon he would have shrugged and said, "Let it be."
But i am extremely glad to report there is a happy ending! Believe it or not, the wall has its own Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/TheJohnLennonWallPrague. It is filled with current photos contributed by visitors, and mentions that just seven days after it was painted white, it is already full of color again. And yes, you can see new images of John Lennon. ;-D