The Wenceslas Square is very close to the Grand Hotel Praha. It is located on the border between the Old and New Towns, and is not only the center of modern social and business life, but also a place of important historical and political events.
This large square was created when Charles IV. established the New Town; its original name was "Koňský trh" (Horse Market), because it was designed for horse trading. Later, other goods were traded here as well, so houses of the craftsman and breweries were built nearby. This place became the primary marketplace of New Town.
The square saw many important events throughout Czech history. It was here where the first Czech theatre stood, playing solely in the Czech language. Due to the extensive dimensions of the square, it can hold up to 160,000 people; that is why demonstrations took place here. For example, the demonstration of students and radicals against the Austrian-Hungarian Monarchy, demonstrations for general suffrage and also an important demonstration to support the declaration of the independent Czechoslovakian Republic.
The square saw the annunciation of the end of the 2nd World War and also the sad event when two students, Jan Palach and Jan Zajíc, burnt themselves to death to protest against the invasion of the Warsaw Pact units into Czechoslovakia. In November of 1989, the square saw the beginning of the so called Velvet Revolution, which terminated the communist regime in the country.
The square is dominated by the St. Wenceslas Monument, to the Patron of the Bohemian country, created by the famous sculptor Josef Václav Myslbek. The monument has served as a meeting landmark since it was raised. Just above the monument is the spacious National Museum, where important collections from various fields are stored. Along both sides of the square, there are many important buildings, shops, hotels, offices and restaurants. The bottom part of the square often hosts large Christmas and Easter markets.