A historical map in which places in Prague related to Jan Palach’s self-immolation are marked (Source: Petr Blažek’s archives)

Memorial Places

There are fires ablaze at every corner of the night,

but in the desert, there is a salted place

where a shrub was burning in the light of day

Jan Skácel (from the poem A burning shrub)

There are many places that remind us of Jan Palach. Some of them are directly related to his life, while others are purely commemorative. In some cases, the places illustrate how Palach’s act and his heritage were reflected upon in the past. 

Many Czech towns have decided to name their streets, river banks or squares after Jan Palach: Bohumín, Brno, Břeclav, Čerčany, Hořovice, Hradec Králové, Chomutov, Karlovy Vary, Kladno, Kralupy nad Vltavou, Kutná Hora, Liberec, Litoměřice, Mladá Boleslav, Most, Olomouc, Pardubice, Prague, Roztoky u Prahy, Turnov, Ústí nad Labem, and Žďár nad Sázavou. After 1989, several elementary schools and high schools adopted Palach’s name.

 During his life, Jan Palach resided in several places, some of which had commemorative plaques unveiled in the past. There are also several monuments where regular commemorative events are held, both in the Czech Republic (Všetaty, Mělník, and Prague) and abroad (Belgium, Italy, Switzerland, and the UK).

There are monuments that have not been cast yet, most notably the one made by the Czech sculptor Josef Randa; the models of this monument are located in Winnipeg, Cleveland, and Brno. Others have been completed but no convenient location for their installation has been found, such as two statues by John Hejduk.   

It has also become a tradition for people to commemorate Jan Palach at his grave at the Olšany Cemetery in Prague.