There is one place in Prague that is dedicated to two great musicians. Ludwig van Beethoven and John Lennon. They could not have met in real life because their dates of birth are 170 years apart. In Prague, however, they meet at Kampa.
The wall is known to all Prague residents and tourists. It’s called Lennon’s Wall. The history of writing messages on this wall dates back to the 1960s when people wrote messages here for the actor and playwright Jan Werich, who lived not far from this wall.
After August 21, 1968 (the occupation of Czechoslovakia by Warsaw Pact armies), politically motivated inscriptions appeared in many places in Prague, which could still be seen on the walls many years later. In many places and of course also on the Lennon wall.
After this occupation, Czechoslovakia renounced the organization of the World Hockey Championship, which was to be played here in March 1969. The tournament was moved to Sweden. And although the Soviet Union had a very strong team and won the championship, our hockey players were the only team to beat the Soviet Union in both matches. First 2:0 and then 4:3. It was a great satisfaction for us – two meters high white signs “4:3” were still visible ten years later.
When John Lennon was killed, someone painted a graveyard stone on the wall. The wall thus acquired the name Lennon’s wall and became a place for various messages. Associated with John Lennon, but not only. The charm of this also lay in the feeling of a kind of connection with the free world.
For many years there was Lennon’s quote on the wall: “As breathing is my life, to stop I dare not dare.”, with a poetic Czech translation: “Neb dýchání jest mým žitím, odvážit se přestat dýchat neodvážím.”
The wall also became a place for expressing disagreement with the regime, so it was eventually covered with wooden boards and served as a poster board – for theatre and cinema programs and similar official messages.
After the revolution in November 1989, the wall gradually ceased to be used as a protest place, but it is still covered with drawings. It has become a tourist attraction. However, if you go through the narrow door at the end of it into the garden of the Grand Priory Palace, you will find yourself in a completely different world. In a very quiet place where Lennon’s wall is white as snow.
The garden is calm, almost meditative – and it is certainly no coincidence that 26-year-old Ludwig van Beethoven liked to relax here. He was in love with the 19-year-old countess and went to the garden to think about her in peace and privacy.
An almost 300-year-old plane tree grows in the garden. It is 33 meters high and is the largest tree in the territory of Prague. By the time Ludwig van Beethoven rested in its shade, the plane tree was already more than half a century old. That is why it is called Beethoven’s plane tree.