John Lennon Wall is a wall with colourful paintings, graffiti and messages symbolising peace, freedom and hope.
John Lennon wall is part of Prague’s recent history. It started with admiration for John Lennon songs about freedom in communist-run Czech Republic before 1989 and continues to change and look different every time I visit.
I used to go to the English Language School nearby and I walked past the wall nearly every day to get to Kampa Island and the park. It was great to see the wall changing with new messages or paintings appearing overnight.
What is John Lennon’s Wall?
John Lennon Wall is a tall and long wall in Prague close to Kampa Island. The wall is covered with colourful drawings, graffiti and messages.
It was initially started after John Lennon passed away on 8.12.1980 when Czech artists painted the first drawing to honour John Lennon and his songs. Other people followed and soon the wall became known as a silent protest against the communist regime, which until 1989 ruled the Czech Republic.
When the Velvet Revolution started on 17 November 1989, people used to gather at the wall as well as at Wenceslas Square and Old Town Square.
The original drawings are long gone, as the wall has been freshly painted several times during the last 43 years, which is why when you see photos of the John Lennon Wall it always looks slightly different.
Is John Lennon’s Wall worth visiting?
Yes, I think it’s worth visiting for the vibrancy of colours and because it’s something a little different than the rest of the area (which has very historic houses and streets.).
And once you learn a little bit more about the history, you realise that you are standing in the place where things really happened and they meant a lot to people before you.
You might not see John Lennon’s face or songwriting any more, but the wall continues to symbolise hope and freedom.
Visit early in the morning or later in the day, when most guided tours have finished to have the place for yourself and to have the space and time to linger a little. The wall feels very different when you are there on your own.
The wall is owned by the Knights of the Maltese Cross ( you can see their church and buildings just around the corner).
Until 2019 anyone could write a message or paint on the wall. This was unfortunately abused, and now it’s not allowed (only chosen artists can paint on the wall). There are CCTV cameras to guard the wall.
At the beginning (1980) any messages, graffiti or paintings were immediately taken down or rather whitewashed, and the police prosecuted anyone who was caught. Things changed after 1989 when the wall became a symbol of freedom and later was added to the ‘must see things in Prague’ list for tourists.
After 1990 the wall was (and the buildings around it) given back to its original owners – the Knights of Maltese Cross. Whilst the town wasn’t keen on keeping the wall going as a graffiti wall, the Knights of the Maltese Cross decided to restore the wall and then allow the painting and messages to continue.
How John Lennon Wall changed through the years
1980-1989 – first graffiti and messages started (whitewashed pretty much straight away by the secret police)
1998 – the wall is completely whitewashed with the view of stopping any further graffiti or messages
2014 – the wall was whitewashed overnight with words ‘Wall is Over’. It was the anniversary of the Velvet Revolution and the activists were sending a message that the wall wasn’t needed anymore. The message is a reference to Yoko Ono’s ‘War is over’ message.
2019 (March) – artists were asked to create paintings to celebrate 30 years since the Velvet Revolution and they created John Lennon’s portrait as well as Vaclav Havel (the first president after 1989). Unfortunately, a few weeks after the wall was finished environmental activists ruined the work by writing over it with their slogans.
2019 – only authorised artists are commissioned to paint on the wall
Can I do this independently or do I need a guided tour to visit
You can definitely visit yourself; there is no need for a guided tour, although you will probably come across a lot of guided tours visiting the area.
How to avoid crowds around John Lennon’s Wall
Visit early in the morning (ideally at sunrise or at least before breakfast) or in the evening.
Few rules when you visit
Please don’t paint or spray anything on the wall (the wall is constantly monitored by CCTV cameras).
There are sometimes areas where short messages can be written. Have a look at what’s currently there when you visit (for example in recent months, people were invited to write messages on pieces of paper which were then hung on a string in front of the wall.)
Velkopřevorské Square, Lesser Town, Prague 1
How to get to John Lennon Wall
There is no tram or bus stops directly outside the wall. The closest tram stop is Hellichova or Malostranske Namesti (Lesser Town Square), tram no. 22, 12, 20 etc with about 5-7 minutes walk. The nearest underground is Malostranska on line C and then about 15 minutes walk.
There are several ways you can get to the wall. I usually go down the steps towards Kampa island (towards the end of the Charles Bridge) and then turn right into Hroznova Street. Cross the bridge (and see the old mill’s wooden wheel on Certovka Stream), and the wall will be on your right.
After you’ve seen the wall, continue walking straight on (this street is called Lazenska Street) until you get to Mostecka Street, taking you back to Charles Bridge.
You can also carry on walking in any of the surrounding streets. They will all lead you towards the main street, where you can take a tram (such as the 22 tram to Prague Castle) back to the centre or to Lesser Town Square.
The John Lennon Wall is open all the time, all year round. It’s not closed off to public; you are welcome to any time you like.
The John Lennon Wall is free to visit & there is no charge or ticket needed to visit.
Best time to visit
If you want to take some nice photos and have the wall to yourself (or almost), the best time to visit the John Lennon Wall is very early in the morning.
Ideally, you want to be there around sunrise (5-6 am Summer, 7-8 am Winter). Morning is also a time when you get a really good soft light as during the day the shadows are quite harsh (the wall is part of a fairly enclosed street).
Other than that, evening just before the sun comes down is lovely too. You will find that out of season, weekday or winter time the John Lennon Wall is less busy than normal.
At night time, this place is very romantic as you can carry on walking towards the Lesser Town Square amongst old historic houses lit up by old-fashioned street lamps.
How much time to allow for your visit
To see the wall and take a few pictures is a matter of 10-15 minutes, but if you want to read the messages and perhaps take more photos, you need 15-30 minutes. Also if you come during busy times, you might need to wait around to pose in front of an empty space (to take a photo).
When I went for my photoshoot, I think we arrived shortly after 8 am on a cold weekday in March, and there were already a few people taking photos.
Things to do around
- Walk around Kampa Island or have a picnic on the grass
- Have a look at the Crawling Babies (and yellow penguins, the peace statue, the Vltava chair etc) in front of the Kampa Museum Gallery (and behind it) on the island.
- Taste the hot chocolate and cakes at the coffee place inside the Jan Werrich Museum at the entrance to the Kampa Island
This blog post was originally written on 3 February 2023 and last updated on 4 February 2023