Wenceslao's Square

by jimval
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Wenceslao's Square

Wenceslao's Square

In 1989, during the Velvet Revolution, large demonstrations (with hundreds of thousands of people or more) were held here.

On 28 March 1969, the Czechoslovakian national ice hockey team defeated the USSR team for the second time in that year's Ice Hockey World Championships. As the country was still under Soviet occupation, the victory induced great celebrations. Perhaps 150,000 people gathered on Wenceslas Square, and skirmishes with police developed. A group of agents provocateurs provoked an attack on the Prague office of the Soviet airline Aeroflot, located on the street. The vandalism served as a pretext for reprisals and the period of so-called normalization.

Wenceslas Square (Czech:  Václavské náměstí, colloquially Václavák) is one of the main city squares and the centre of the business and cultural communities in the New Town of Prague, Czech Republic. Many historical events occurred there, and it is a traditional setting for demonstrations, celebrations, and other public gatherings. The square is named after Saint Wenceslas, the patron saint of Bohemia. It is part of the historic centre of Prague, a World Heritage Site.

On 16 January 1969, student Jan Palach set himself on fire in Wenceslas Square to protest the invasion of Czechoslovakia by the Soviet Union in 1968.

In 1348, Bohemian King Charles IV founded the New Town of Prague. The plan included several open areas for markets, of which the second largest was the Koňský trh, or Horse Market. At the southeastern end of the market was the Horse Gate, one of the gates in the walls of the New Town.

The Nazis used the street for mass demonstrations. During the Prague Uprising in 1945, a few buildings near the National Museum were destroyed. They were later replaced by department stores.


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