This wall used to be an ordinary wall in Prague. It has been called The John Lennon Wall since the 1980s, when many people filled it with John Lennon-inspired graffiti and lyrics from Beatles songs.
The Lennon Wall is situated in the Lesser Town. In its proximity, visitors will find the French Embassy. Paradoxically John Lennon himself never visited Prague during his lifetime.
The wall itself has become a prominent part of recent Czech history. Lennon became a hero of the pacifist youth of the Central and Eastern Europe during the totalitarian era for many reasons. Before 1989 when the Communists were in power, Wsestern pop songs were banned by the authorities, especially John Lennons songs, because they praised freedom – unknown at that time in Czechoslovakia.
Some musicians were even jailed for playing his music! In 1980 John Lennon was murdered and he became the hero of some of the younger generation and his picture was painted on this wall, for whatever reason, along with graffiti defying the authorities.
It should be stressed that at that time the Czech people had few opportunities to express their feelings about, and because of their lack of freedom. With this activity the young activists risked prison for what the authorities called “subversive activities against the state”.
Of course there was the threat of prison but it didn’t keep people away from slipping there in the middle of the night to scrawl graffiti, at first in the form of Beatles lyrics and odes to Lennon, then by writing their own feelings and dreams directly onto the wall.
The state police tried repeatedly to remove the portrait and messages of peace but they never managed to keep the wall completely clean. The next day it was, once again, full of poems and flowers with paintings of Lennon. Even the installation of surveillance cameras and the posting of an night guard didn’t prevent the opinions of freedom from being expressed.
The John Lennon wall is continuously undergoing change and the original portrait of Lennon is long lost under many layers of paint.
Nowadays, the wall represents one of the symbols of youth ideals such as love and peace. It is also possible to find a bust of John Lennon there.
Today the wall is owned by the Knights of the Maltese Cross, that, thankfully have allowed the graffiti to remain on the wall as a reminder of the recent past.