Václavské námestí 68
11000 Prague, Czech Republic
+420 2171 4444
NileGuide Expert tip:
With all of the action on Wenceslas Square, it can be easy to miss the Jan Palach Memorial. It is just past the statue of St. Wenceslas, near the Muzeum metro stop, directly under the museum. Sometimes it will be garlanded with flowers and candles, especially around the January 16 anniversary of his death. Otherwise, just look for a cross in the cobblestones.
At the top of Wenceslas Square lies a bronze cross memorializing Jan Palach, a Czech student who, in 1969, lighted himself on fire to protest the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia that had occurred the year before. Several students were part of a suicide pact with Palach but as he awaited his own death in excruciating pain, he pleaded publicly for them to avoid the same fate. About a month later, however, a student named Jan Zajic added strength to Palach's protest when he, too, set himself alight in the square. The monument memorializes more than just these two students, though. It has come to represent all of those who fell in the fight against the unwanted occupation.