Karlove Vary

Karlove Vary

Karlovy Vary (German: Karlsbad; English: Carlsbad) is a spa city 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 Czech Republic.

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 and the popular Czech liqueur Karlovarská Becherovka. The glass manufacturer Moser Glass is located in Karlovy Vary. The city has also given its name to the famous 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.

The first Celtic settlers came there before the Middle Ages. On 14 August 1370, Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperor, gave 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 could 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.