Do you know where locals and tourists usually meet in Prague? Of course, by the statue of St Wenceslas at the top of the square with the same name. So let’s have a closer look at this monument, its history and reasons, why this name means so much to Czech people.
Yes, this sculpture is one of the main in Prague and is as popular as Charles Bridge of John Lennon Wall. But what is the reason for such a fame? I would like you to come with me for 1000 years back to the ancient times, when the state of Czechia was still infant.
St Wenceslas family
St Wenceslas is the main holy person, its patron and protector. There are several versions about the dates when he was born, but official one is 907. That was the time when in the lands of modern Czechia a conflict between Christianity and paganism took place.
The father of young Wenceslas did his was looking ahead and did his best to bring up his two sons in a new Christian tradition, when his wife was a true pagan lady. After the father’s death, that was his grandmother Ludmila (who is now Saint Ludmila) took up the responsibility over the boys, but she was killed be her daughter-in-law. The reason was religion of course.
But the influence of the father and the grandmother was quite strong and duke Wenceslas did his best to promote Christianity in the lands and was a big success especially from 924 till 935, until his brother killed him. According to old chronicles it happened on the 28th of September. That is why this date is a state holiday in Czechia.
The first monument
We all remember that Wenceslas’ Square used to be the biggest horse market in Bohemia and that was the place where the first monument was erected in 1680. That was a baroque statue which stood till the second half of the XIX century, when the city council decided to bring it to Vysehrad and make a new statue in honor of St Wenceslas.
Statue of St Wenceslas as the main monument of Prague
Statue of St Wenceslas Modern view
After the old statue was moved to Vysehrad city council decided to have a competition among architects. There were 8 projects at the start and only 2 in the final. As a result the idea of Josef Myslbek. The bronze statue of St Wenceslas is over 5 meters high.
- Total height with the pike is 7 meters.
- Total weight is over 5 tons.
St Wenceslas, Leader of the Czech Lands, our Prince, do not let us die nor those yet to come.
He started to work on the project in 1887 and finished only in 1924, though the official opening took place in 1913. In the monument one can see the saint duke on the horse surrounded with the four saints: St Ludmila, St Prokop, St Adalbert and St Agnes.
The reasons, why locals and tourists usually meet at the statue of St Wenceslas in Prague are very simple. On the one hand, it is a central spot in Praha 1 district, on the other – it is very easy to get there, because under the statue there are 2 Prague metro lines. That is why it is so easy to get to the square and the monument.
Our sightseeing tours in Prague usually also start from the statue of St Wenceslas. Therefore it is essential to know where the place is and how to find it. The quickest way to get to Vaclavak is to take either Green or Red line of Prague metro and to go till Muzeum station. Or you can walk up the square to the direction of National Museum.