The story I heard about the wall by someone, attempting to sell me a panoramic view of the wall as I crossed the Charles Bridge, started with a woman who used to sit in the doorway within the wall with a guitar singing Beatles songs. I was told She added the first art work of head shots of her self- portrait and portrait of John Lennon. Google searches about the history of the wall, has not verified the story of this. Internet pages tell of how after John’s Lennon’s death the wall became a focus for art / graffiti relating to the Beatles / John Lennon peace and anti-communism sort of like a Facebook wall in the era before internet, before people could create an image of themselves in a press of a button and post to their own wall. The panorama I was shown, showed the wall covered in colour, it included the supposed first art of the guitar lady and John Lennon and also the second which was the word Fred which means Peace in Norwegian.
On the following website http://www.absolutetours.com/blog/john-lennons-wall/ it details that the story of the wall started before John Lennon’s death; in the 60s and 70s when people wrote anti-communist messages on it, leading to it being termed the wailing wall. During communist times it was painted over at different times by communist regime including http://www.absolutetours.com/blog/john-lennons-wall/ mentions being painted green in 1981. The article goes on to describe the first time it was painted over, after the fall of communism in 2000. The article says it was painted white by art group Rafani, with just the word ‘love’ however elsewhere on the internet I have read it was painted green in 2000. Indeed I saw on this site http://www.paetau.com/downloads/Friends/Rafani.html it painted green with the Czech word for love; Laskia and explains it was painted green because the communist used green to paint over the wall.
The internet seems to agree that On 17November2014 the wall was covered with white paint and just the words ‘War is over’ a twist of John Lennon’s Christmas song ‘Happy Christmas, war is over’. Students who claimed they were responsible for whitewashing the wall stated they did it to commemorate 25 years since the start of the Velvet Revolution in 1989.
In between, the two post 1989 painting overs of the wall in 2000 and 2014 and since the wall constantly evolves with new additions, therefore it is a an attraction that is worth revisiting to see what has changed. Yes’s after painted self-portraits, selfies are now captured by tourists in front of the colorful wall or like I did photos of the wall are captured of that moment in the walls evolution. The colour is even starting to spread to a tree in front of the wall.
I would certainly like to return in years times to see it. Plus as it is on the street is a free attraction, as long as you don’t get tempted on the Charles bridge to buy any souvenir. If I had visited prior to the Brexit vote, with a better exchange rate, I probably would have bought or if at the price it was I would have bought if the same seller had been there on my last day in Prague when I visited the wall for a second time. Between the first and the second time there was already changes unfortunately mainly just scribbles in green, but I’m sure by now there are new more edifying additions. On my second visit there was the bonus that a busker arrived singing Beatles songs.
The wall is less than 10minutes, from the Charles Bridge on the same side as Prague castle. The most direct route from Charles Bridge takes you past the John Lennon wall. The first time I saw it we arrived at the Malostranske namesti tram stop and it then took a while to find it but on the way we did find a café for hot chocolate. The area around Malostranske namesti tramnstop is interesting to walk around as there is Charles Bridges, restaurants, cafes, chocolate shops up the hill from the bridge wall is Prague castle. Prior to my second viewing of the wall I had a Thai massage (ouch!) in an establishment that also had the fish for nibbling peoples feet ; other such establishments can be found around Prague. At the moment it would be the following trams to get to the area;12, 20, 22, 23.