The plaque acts as a memorial to the non-violent student uprising of 1989 that led to the downfall of Communism in what was then known as Czechoslovakia. The outstretched hands, their fingers splayed in a “V” for victory, represent the students who faced off against riot police, sparking a series of protests against the government.
The students were commemorating the 50th anniversary of when the Nazis stormed Prague in 1939. On that occasion, students were attacked by police as well.
Today, people honor the students and their fellow dissidents by leaving candles, wreaths, and ribbons at the memorial. If you visit around November 17, the day the uprising began, you will possibly get to see the memorial when the hands are holding lit candles, the fingers dripping with melted wax.
The plaque is no longer in its original location—it’s said it had to be moved because all the items tied or placed on the memorial raised concerns about fire safety. Others say the decision to relocate the plaque was made to allow larger crowds to gather and pay their respects at the site every November 17.
Know Before You Go
The plaque can be a little hard to find, as it's so small. Your best bet is to head to the National Theatre, then backtrack up the street heading away from the river, and the plaque will appear on the right-hand side.