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Monday, September 17, 2007

Prague's Lennon Wall...

Noah had his first Sunday school class on Sunday, which meant that Kathy and I had an hour to wander around before picking him up from class and going next door for mass. It was a beautiful near-fall morning, and we did the usual walk across the Charles bridge, but on the way back we decided to take a detour on Kampa island. We had both been on Kampa island before so we didn't expect to see anything new, but then we saw a small side street with a sign for a cafe and an arrow pointing up the street. We decided to see what the cafe was like and were disappointed that 1) it was closed and 2) it was also a laundromat. Oh, well. But we came out the other end of the street to an area we hadn't been before. We crossed a small pedestrian bridge over the small canal that runs parallel to the Vltava river, and we came across the Lennon Wall. I knew of the Lennon Wall from the multiple books on Prague that we have seen over the past year, but we never really knew where it was. We both thought it was in some park on the south end of the city (don't know where we got that idea). It was one of those fortunate accidents and it was fun to find.

From Wikipedia:

The Lennon Wall was formerly an ordinary historic wall in Prague, but since the 1980s, people have filled it with John Lennon-inspired graffiti and pieces of lyrics from Beatles songs.

In 1988 the wall was a source of irritation for the then communist regime of Gustav Husak. Young Czechs would write grievances on the wall and in a report of the time this led to a clash between hundreds of students and security police on the nearby Charles Bridge. The movement these students followed was described ironically as Lennonism and Czech authorities described these people variously as alcoholics, mentally deranged, sociopathic, and agents of Western capitalism.

The wall continuously undergoes change and the original portrait of Lennon is long lost under layers of new paints. Even when the wall was re-painted by some authorities, on the second day it was again full of poems and flowers. Today, the wall represents a symbol of youth ideals such as love and peace.

The wall is owned by the Knights of the Maltese Cross, who graciously allowed graffiti to continue on what actually is a lovely Renaissance wall, and is located at Velkopřevorské náměstí (Grand Priory Square), Malá Strana.

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