August 14, 2022

Karlovy Vary (German: Karlsbad) is a regional and statutory city in the Karlovy Vary district in western Bohemia, in the Karlovy Vary Region, 110 km west of Prague at the confluence of the Ohře and Teplá rivers. Approximately 46 thousand inhabitants live here. The area of ​​the cadastre is 59.10 km². Among other things, the glass and food industries are developed here. It is the most visited Czech spa town. Since 2021, it has been on the UNESCO World Heritage List under the Famous Spa Cities of Europe item.


The place where the center of Karlovy Vary was established remained for a long time outside the interest of the population. Steep slopes and unsuitable climatic conditions near the thermal springs did not provide suitable conditions for growing crops, which were crucial for settlement. The first settlements were more likely to be located in today's peripheral parts of the city. The exact date of the city's founding is unknown. The permanent settlement around Vřídl was established in the middle of the 14th century. In 1370, the city was granted by Charles IV. privileges of the royal city. The legend of the founding of Karlovy Vary, recorded in 1571 by Dr. Fabian Summer, says that a hunting dog began to snarl a piece of wild game during an expedition in the woods, falling into a pool of gushing hot water. The moaning of the dog summoned the other members of the expedition, who subsequently tasted the hot water. Charles IV was also informed about the find, who went to the source. Together with the doctors present, he stated that this hot water has healing effects, which he subsequently tried himself and experienced improvement. At the place of the alleged spring, he then founded a spa called Teplá lázně u Lokte. At first, the town had only a few inhabitants, whose most important role was to take care of the springs. Karlovy Vary initially developed at a slow pace. The Hussite wars did not affect the city in any way, because it was not understood as strategically important. The city slowly began to grow rich from the gradually developing spa industry. But the growth was hampered by several misfortunes that hit the city. A flood swept through the town in 1582 and a devastating fire in 1609, which destroyed 99 houses out of 102. The subsequent rapid growth was interrupted by the Thirty Years' War, which reduced the number of inhabitants and also the number of spa guests. The end of the 17th century begins a re-growth in the city. Important European personalities begin to visit Karlovy Vary. The city began to grow with new buildings (e.g. the theater or the Saxon and Bohemian Hall, which became the basis for the Grandhotel Pupp etc.). In 1759, the city was again destroyed by flames. However, thanks to its fame, the city recovered relatively quickly from the fire. The Napoleonic Wars rather benefited the city in a way. Thanks to their sufficient distance from the battlefields, they attracted visitors to the famous spa towns of Western Europe. Viennese architects Ferdinand Fellner and Hermann Helmer, who designed 20 important buildings in the city, are largely responsible for the architectural transformation to Art Nouveau at the end of the 19th century. In the years 1870-1871, the city was connected to Cheb and Prague by means of a railway, which was later followed by regional connections. The development of the city was disrupted by the First World War, after which it was no longer possible to follow up such extensive growth. The city became the center of important events with the rise of Nazism. The local bookseller K. H. Frank became the leader of the Karlovy Vary Sudeten German Party, later he was the second most powerful man in the party. On April 24, 1938, Konrád Henlein presented the so-called eight Karlovy Vary demands in the city, signifying the disintegration of Czechoslovakia. In October of the same year, Karlovy Vary became part of the Third Reich. At the end of World War II, the city (especially the local part of Rybár) was affected by bombing. He also accompanied the end of the war