During the Communist occupation of Czechoslovakia, western pop songs were banned; especially John Lennon’s songs, because his message was all about peace and freedom that didn’t exist in Czechoslovakia. Some musicians were actually jailed for playing it. When John Lennon was killed in 1980, young Czech citizens expressed their emotions by tagging a large wall with memorial graffiti in Prague’s little quarter.
The wall quickly began to represent much more than love for John Lennon’s music; it became a symbol of freedom and the hope for change in the communist controlled country. The wall originated with only a simple portrait of John Lennon, but soon people were risking imprisonment by sneaking to the wall in the dead of the night to add Beatles lyrics, poems and their grievances with the communist regime.
The wall filled up daily and each night, the Communist Police would repeatedly whitewash over it. Day after day, it would again be covered from top to bottom. Even the installation of surveillance cameras and the posting of an overnight guard couldn’t stop it. This movement eventually earned the name “Lennonism” and the wall became known as the “Lennon Wall. “
Nearly nothing of the original graffiti remains to this day. The wall is still constantly changing and has been covered and re-covered with hundreds of layers of paint throughout the years. Today, the wall is privately owned and is still a symbol of peace and freedom among the Czech people.
This wall was one of my favorite things in Prague. It is such a different and unique piece of history that many tourists don’t know about. The day we visited , it had just finished raining, and it was so very quiet and peaceful. It was a very powerful feeling to be standing by something that had so much to say but was just sitting in complete peace and silence without a soul in sight.