Discuss as:

Mourners follow Vaclav Havel's last journey through Prague

Petr Josek / Reuters

People gather to mourn as the coffin of former Czech President Vaclav Havel is transported on a gun carriage to Prague Castle for the funeral ceremony in Prague, Czech Republic, on Dec. 21, 2011.

Petr Josek / Reuters

A hearse transporting Havel's body to Prague Castle.

Reuters reports from PRAGUE:

Vaclav Havel's actress wife led mourners through the streets of Prague Wednesday, following the playwright-president's body on its last public journey, to the castle where it will lie in state until a funeral Friday.

Dagmar Havlova was joined by leading figures from the Czech state and society as well as thousands of the former dissident's fellow citizens wishing to pay tribute to the man who died on Sunday, 22 years after leading the "Velvet Revolution" that ended Communist rule over Czechoslovakia in December 1989.

"This was an honest man," said 67-year-old Jaroslava Leskakova as she marched in the somber cortege behind the hearse through the sunlit cobbled streets of the old city toward the landmark Charles Bridge that leads to Prague Castle.

"He did not think of himself but did all he could for people to be happy," said Leskakova of Havel.

Michal Kamaryt / AP

People jangle keys in a symbolic reference to the Velvet Revolution of 1989 as Vaclav Havel's body makes its final public journey.

Marko Drobnjakovic / AP

Dagmar Havlova, right, Havel's widow, and her daughter Nina Veskrnova, left, follow the vehicle carrying his coffin.

Vit Simanek / AP

Soldiers carry the coffin of former President Vaclav Havel as they reach Vladislav Hall at Prague Castle.

Havel was repeatedly jailed by the Soviet-allied Communist authorities in the 1970s and 80s for his activism in the Charter 77 civil rights movement and then led the nation as president from 1989 to 2003.

Moving from an arts center Havel helped found, where it had lain on view since Monday, to the castle he found himself suddenly thrust into as head of state, Wednesday's journey was symbolic of the transformation in Havel's own life, from censored playwright to a statesman rebuilding eastern Europe. Continue reading.

Related content: