Walking Tour: Around Wenceslas Square

  • Start National Museum
  • End Na Můstku
  • Length 1.5km; 45 minutes

Begin at the National Museum, at the upper end of Wenceslas Square. At the foot of the steps is a pavement memorial to student Jan Palach.

Cross Mezibranská to the equestrian statue of St Wenceslas, the 10th-century ‘Good King Wenceslas’ of Christmas-carol fame. A flower bed just downhill from the statue contains a Memorial to the Victims of Communism, with photographs of student martyrs Jan Palach and Jan Zájic.

Wander down the middle of the square admiring the grand buildings such as the Grand Hotel Evropa at No 25. Opposite at No 36 is the Melantrich Building, where the death of Czech communism was pronounced by Alexander Dubček and Václav Havel in 1989.

Turn left into Pasáž Rokoko, a mirror-lined art-deco arcade. It leads to the central atrium of the Lucerna Palace arcade, dominated by David Černý’s Kun (Horse), an ironic twist on the St Wenceslas statue outside. Climb up the ornate, red-marble staircase opposite for a better view, or drop into the Kavárna Lucerna for a coffee and admire the sculpture through the window.

Exit the Lucerna Palace onto Vodičkova, and bear right across the street to enter the Světozor arcade, with a beautiful stained-glass window advertising Tesla radios, dating from the late 1940s.

At the far end of the arcade, turn left into the Franciscan Garden, a hidden oasis of peace and greenery. Exit diagonally opposite into Jungmannovo náměstí, go past the arch leading to the Church of Our Lady of the Snows – once meant to be the grandest church in Prague, but never completed – and turn right.

Keep to the right and you will find what must be the only cubist lamp post in the world, dating from 1915. Turn left here and then right through the Lindt arcade (part of one of the city's earliest examples of Functionalist architecture) to emerge at the foot of Wenceslas Square.

Across the street is the art-nouveau Koruna Palace (Crown Palace) – look up and you will see the corner tower with the crown of pearls that gives the building its name.