Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Wenceslas Square (Czech: Václavské náměstí) is an important place in the centre of Prague (Czech Republic). It has been a place where many historical events occurred; it is also a traditional place for demonstrations, celebrations, and similar public gatherings. The square is named after Saint Wenceslas, the patron saint of the Czechs.
Wenceslas Square has a shape of a very long (750 m, total area 45,000 m²) rectangle, roughly in northwest–southeast direction. There is a building of Czech National Museum at its upper (southeast) end. The square is dominated by a mounted statue of Saint Wenceslas, made by Josef Václav Myslbek in 1887–1924. The Saint Wenceslas is accompanied by other Czech patron saints carved into the ornate statue base: Saint Ludmila, Saint Agnes of Bohemia , Saint Prokop , Saint Adalbert of Prague.
The statue base, designed by architect Alois Dryák, includes an inscription "Svatý Václave, vévodo české země, kníže náš, nedej zahynouti nám ni budoucím" ("Saint Wenceslas, duke of the Czech land, prince of ours, don't let wane us nor the prospectives").
Old, medieval name of the square was Koňský trh (Horse market), after common activity. During the Czech national revival movement in 19th century, a more noble name was requested. At this time the statue was built and the square renamed.
On March 28, 1969, the Czechoslovakian national ice hockey team defated the USSR team on the Ice Hockey World Championships (for the second time on the championships). This victory induced great celebrations (because of the Soviet occupation), maybe 150,000 people gathered on the Wenceslas square; it lead to skirmishes with police. A group of agents provocateurs provoked a devastation of a Prague office of the Soviet airline company Aeroflot, situated on the Wenceslas square, which was a pretext for reprisals and the period of so-called normalization.
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