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Prague Wenceslas Square And National Museum
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© Christine Till - CT-Graphics
During the Middle Ages a horse market (Koňský trh), Wenceslas Square (Václavské náměstí) in Prague, CZ, got its present name in the mid-19th century. It is named after Saint Wenceslas, the patron saint of Bohemia, and it is part of the historic centre of Prague, a World Heritage Site. Less a square than a boulevard, Wenceslas Square has the shape of a very long (750 m, total area 45,000 m²) rectangle. The northwest end runs up against the border between the New Town and the Old Town. This is the main centre of modern Prague surrounded by shops, cinemas, office blocks, hotels, restaurants and cafés.
Wenceslas Square has been the scene of a great deal of Czech history. In 1969 the university student Jan Palach burnt himself to death here in protest against the Warsaw Pact invasion, and in November 1989 protest meetings against police brutality were held here. They eventually led to the Velvet Revolution and the end of communism in Czechoslovakia. In the middle of the square is a monument of St Wenceslas on a horse accompanied with sculptures of four Czech patron saints.
The National Museum (Narodni muzeum), which dominates the upper part of Wenceslas Square, is the largest and oldest museum in the Czech Republic. Founded in 1818 as Prague's regional natural history museum, this architectural symbol of the Czech National Revival was completed in 1890 in a Neo-Renaissance style. It is more than 70 m high. Its hall, façade, staircase and ramp are decorated with sculptures made by famous Czech artists. Prague's National Museum houses a vast array of changing exhibitions as well as permanent collections devoted to archaeology, anthropology, mineralogy, natural history, numismatics and fine art.
May 2nd, 2012
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