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Karlovy Vary


Karlovy Vary 

Karlovy Vary or Carlsbad (Czech pronunciation: [ˈkarlovɪ ˈvarɪ]; German: Karlsbad; is a spa town situated in western Bohemia, Czech Republic, on the confluence of the rivers Ohře and Teplá, approximately 130 km (81 mi) west of Prague (Praha). It is named after King of Bohemia and Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV, who founded the city in 1370. It is historically famous for its hot springs (13 main springs, about 300 smaller springs, and the warm-water Teplá River). It is the most visited spa town in the Czech Republic.


The first Celtic settlers came there before the Middle Ages.

On 14 August 1370, Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperor and Czech king, gave the city privileges to the place that subsequently was named after him. According to legend after he had acclaimed the healing power of the hot springs. However, earlier settlements can be found in the outskirts of today's city.

Due to publications by doctors such as David Becher and Josef von Löschner, the city developed into a famous spa resort, and was visited by many members of European aristocracy. It became popular after the railway lines to Eger (Cheb) and Prague were completed in 1870.

The number of visitors rose from 134 families in the 1756 season to 26,000 guests annually at the end of the 19th century. By 1911, that figure had reached 71,000, but World War I put an end to tourism and also led to the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire by late 1918.

The large German-speaking population of Bohemia was incorporated into the new state of Czechoslovakia in accordance with the Treaty of Saint-Germain-en-Laye. As a result, the German-speaking majority of Carlsbad protested. A demonstration on 4 March 1919 passed peacefully, but later that month, six demonstrators were killed by Czech troops after a demonstration turned unruly.

In 1938, the Sudetenland, including Carlsbad, became part of Nazi Germany according to the terms of the Munich Agreement. After World War II, in accordance with the Potsdam Agreement, the vast majority of the people of Carlsbad were forcibly expelled from the city because of their German ethnicity. In accordance with the Beneš decrees, their property was confiscated without compensation.

Before that, the Carlsbad Decrees of 1819 had associated the city with antiliberal censorship within the German Confederation.

Since the fall of the Soviet Union and the end of Communist rule in the Czech Republic, there has been a steady increase of the Russian business presence in Karlovy Vary.

A significant portion of the spa/historic section of Karlovy Vary is shown. Major sites in photo, from left to right, are: The dark grey, socialist-era Thermal Spring Colonnade (also called Hot Spring Colonnade or Sprudel) features a glass chimney. Directly above it sits the twin-steeple Church of St. Mary Magdalene. The large, stately building on the center hill is the Hotel Imperial. Below it, to the right of the square, is the Opera House. The Grandhotel Pupp is the large white building to the far right.


The percentage of foreigners to the population of Karlovy Vary region was in 2012 around seven percent, after Prague it is the highest proportion in the country. The largest group of foreigners were Vietnamese, followed by Germans, Russians and Ukrainians.

Year 1930 1939 1947 1991 2001 2003 2008 2013 2014
Population 54 652 53 339 31 322 56 291 53 857 52 359 53 708 53 737 49 864


Local buses and cable cars take passengers to most areas of the city. The city can be reached from other locations by inter-city buses and by train. The city is connected by expressway R6. International Karlovy Vary Airport is located 4,5 km south-east from the city, at the nearby village of Olšová Vrata.


  • Catholic Church of St. Mary Magdalene - built by Kilian Ignaz Dientzenhofer in 1737
  • Orthodox Church of Saints Peter and Paul - 1898
  • Protestant Church of Saints Peter and Paul - 1856
  • Church of St. Anne - 1745
  • Greek Catholic St. Andrew Cemetery Church - 1500
  • Methodist Church of Saint Luke - 1877
  • St. Linharta ruins from 13th century


In the 19th century, it became a popular tourist destination, especially known for international celebrities visiting for spa treatment. The city is also known for the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, which is one of the oldest in the world and has become one of Europe's major film events. And also for the popular Czech liqueur Becherovka. The glass manufacturer Moser Glass is located in Karlovy Vary. The famous Karlovarské oplatky (Carlsbad spa wafers) originated in the city in 1867. The city has also given its name to the delicacy known as "Carlsbad plums". These plums (usually quetsch) are candied in hot syrup, then halved and stuffed into dried damsons; this gives them a very intense flavour.

The city has been used as the location for a number of film-shoots, including the 2006 films Last Holiday and box-office hit Casino Royale, both of which used the city's Grandhotel Pupp in different guises.



  • Johann Josef Loschmidt (15 March 1821 – 8 July 1895), Austrian scientist.
  • Karl Hermann Frank, Nazi official
  • Károly Pulváry (1907–1999), Hungarian designer
  • Walter Serner, dadaist
  • Hana Soukupová, supermodel
  • Karin Stoiber, née Buch (born 1943, Bochov), former First Lady of Bavaria
  • Tomáš Vokoun, goaltender of the NHL Pittsburgh Penguins
  • Walter Becher
  • Stanislav Birner
  • Tomáš Borek
  • Zbyněk Brynych
  • Tomáš Došek
  • Rudolf Křesťan
  • Rick Lanz
  • Ludmila Peterková
  • Karel Rada
  • Georg Riedel
  • Josef Řihák
  • Milan Šperl
  • Jana Sýkorová
  • Ignaz Ziegler
  • Princess Michael of Kent
  • Karel Dobrý

Notable people associated with Karlovy Vary

  • Peter I of Russia visited Karlovy Vary in 1711
  • Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, founder of the Republic of Turkey, as well as its first President, visited Karlsbad in 1918 for spa treatments
  • František Běhounek, scientist and novelist, died here
  • Johann Wolfgang Goethe, German poet, novelist, philosopher, scientist
  • Princess Michael of Kent (born Baroness Marie Christine Agnes Hedwig Ida von Reibnitz), a member of the British Royal Family, was born in January 1945, prior to the expulsion of the German population later that year.
  • Adalbert Stifter, Austrian writer
  • Ludwig van Beethoven, composer, came for spa treatments. He and the poet Goethe would take walks together, much to the delight of the local people.
  • Fryderyk Chopin, composer, and his parents met for the last time during a holiday in Karlsbad, August/September 1835.
  • Anthony J. Drexel, senior partner of Drexel, Morgan & Co. (JPMorgan, today) and founder of Drexel University, died in Karlsbad in 1893 while spending the summer there for his health.
  • Vladimir Voronin, former president or Republic of Moldova, visits Karlovy Vary every year for spa treatments.
  • James Ogilvy, 7th Earl of Findlater, Scottish noble and an accomplished amateur landscape architect and philanthropist
  • Ivan Turgenev, the Russian novelist, visited Karlsbad on numerous occasions for its healing waters.
  • Jean de Carro, Swiss physician, published the Almanach de Carlsbad

City guide


  • Grandhotel Pupp
  • Hotel Imperial
  • Spa Resort Sanssouci
  • Hotel Thermal
  • Hotel Kolonada
  • Richmond
  • Bristol
  • Krivan
  • Hotel Ulrika

Surroundings & Leisure time

Trips in the surrounding countryside


Photo (36)

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Video (2)

Street view


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