Prague’s Wenceslas Square was named after Saint Wenceslas of Bohemia. It is located in the centre of the Prague New Town. King Charles IV decided to establish a new market in 1348 when the Prague New Town was founded.
Horse trade was to be carried out here, so the area was named “Rossmarkt” – horse marked. It was about 680 meters long (today it is 750 meters long) and 60 meters wide. A small stream was led across the market to ensure easy access to water for the horses. Due to the fact that the market is very long, it was possible to present the horses in every gait.
Streets cut through the market and connect it to other squares and roads in the New Town.
In the 19th century, the city wall was demolished and the area was transformed into the market square in its current shape. The National Museum was built at the upper end of the square. Also, the development around the edges began. Most of these buildings are still very well preserved today. City palaces and commercial buildings were built, which, at present, are extensively renovated. It was not until 1848 that the square was renamed to Wenceslas Square.
The Wenceslas Square has often been the stage for political demonstrations, such as the protest against the violent ending of the Prague Spring and the Velvet Revolution in 1989, calling for the end of the communist regime.
Today, Wenceslas Square is one of the main business streets of Prague. Numerous cafes, department stores, retail stores, restaurants and discos characterise the street. That makes the street so inviting for a stroll or a look around in the many shops.