Karlovy Vary

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Karlovy Vary

Karlovy Vary Czech.jpg
October 1997 bird's-eye view of Karlovy Vary
Karlovy Vary (CZE) - flag.gif
Karlovy Vary COA.svg
Coat of arms
Etymology: "Charles' Baths"
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Red pog.svg
Karlovy Vary
Location in the Czech Republic
Coordinates: 50°13′50″N12°52′21″E / 50.23056°N 12.87250°E / 50.23056; 12.87250 Coordinates: 50°13′50″N12°52′21″E / 50.23056°N 12.87250°E / 50.23056; 12.87250
Country Flag of the Czech Republic.svg  Czech Republic
Region Karlovy Vary
District Karlovy Vary
Founded around1350
  MayorAndrea Pfeffer Ferklová (ANO)
  Total59.10 km2 (22.82 sq mi)
447 m (1,467 ft)
 (2020-01-01 [1] )
  Density820/km2 (2,100/sq mi)
Time zone UTC+1 (CET)
  Summer (DST) UTC+2 (CEST)
Postal code
360 01
Website www.karlovyvary.cz
A geyser in Karlovy Vary Vridlo - Karlovy Vary.jpg
A geyser in Karlovy Vary

Karlovy Vary (Czech pronunciation: [ˈkarlovɪ ˈvarɪ] ( Loudspeaker.svg listen ); 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 Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperor and the King of Bohemia, who founded the town in 1370. It is the site of numerous hot springs (13 main springs, about 300 smaller springs, and the warm-water Teplá River), and is the most visited spa town in the Czech Republic. [2] Until 1945, when the German-speaking inhabitants were expelled, the town was overwhelmingly German speaking. Today, it has approximately 48,500 inhabitants and functions as the capital of Karlovy Vary Region, the westernmost region of Bohemia.



An ancient late Bronze Age fortified settlement was found in Drahovice. A Slavic settlement on the site of Karlovy Vary is documented by findings in Tašovice and Sedlec. People lived in close proximity to the site as far back as the 13th century and they must have been aware of the curative effects of thermal springs. [3]

From the end of the 12. century to the early 13. century, German settlers from nearby German-speaking regions came as settlers, craftsmen and miners to develop the region's economy. Eventually, Karlovy Vary/Karlsbad became a town with a German-speaking population. [4]

Around 1350, Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperor organized an expedition into the forests surrounding modern-day Karlovy Vary during a stay in Loket. On the site of a spring, he established a spa mentioned as in dem warmen Bade bey dem Elbogen in German, (Hot Spas at the elbow) or Horké Lázně u Lokte [5] . The location was subsequently named "Karlovy Vary" after the emperor, who extolled the healing powers of the hot springs, at least according to legend. Charles IV granted the town privileges on 14 August 1370. Earlier settlements can also be found on the outskirts of today's town.

An important political event took place in the town in 1819, with the issuing of the Carlsbad Decrees following a conference there. Initiated by the Austrian Minister of State Klemens von Metternich, the decrees were intended to implement anti-liberal censorship within the German Confederation.

Due to publications produced by physicians such as David Becher and Josef von Löschner, the town developed into a famous spa resort in the 19th century and was visited by many members of European aristocracy as well as celebrities from many fields of endeavour. It became even more popular after railway lines were completed from Prague to Cheb 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 the outbreak of World War I in 1914 greatly disrupted the tourism on which the town depended.

At the end of World War I in 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 (1919). As a result, the German-speaking majority of Karlovy Vary protested. A demonstration on 4 March 1919 passed peacefully, but later that month, six demonstrators were killed by Czech troops after a demonstration became unruly. [6]

In 1938, the majority German-speaking areas of Czechoslovakia, known as the Sudetenland, 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 the town were forcibly expelled because of their German ethnicity. In accordance with the Beneš decrees, their property was confiscated without compensation, and the city was renamed again Karlovy Vary.

Since the end of Communist rule in Czechoslovakia in 1989 and the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, the presence of Russian businesses in Karlovy Vary has steadily increased.

A panorama showing most of the spa/historic section of Karlovy Vary. Key sites, from left to right, are: the dark grey, socialist-era Thermal Spring Colonnade (also Hot Spring Colonnade or Sprudel) featuring a glass chimney. Directly above is the twin-steeple Church of St. Mary Magdalene. The large, stately building on the central hill is the Hotel Imperial. Below, to the right of the square, is the Opera House. The Grandhotel Pupp is the large white building, far right.


Historical population
Source: [7]

In 2012, non-Czech residents were around 7% of the population of the Karlovy Vary region. After Prague, this is the highest proportion in the Czech Republic. The largest group of foreigners were Vietnamese, followed by Germans, Russians, and Ukrainians. [8]


Local buses (Dopravní Podnik Karlovy Vary) and cable cars take passengers to most areas of the city. The Imperial funicular is the oldest tunnel funicular in Europe and the steepest in the Czech Republic, the Diana funicular was at the time of commissioning the longest funicular in Austria-Hungary. [9] [10]

The city is accessible via the expressway R6 and inter-city public transport options include inter-city buses, Czech Railways, and Deutsche Bahn via the Karlovy Vary–Johanngeorgenstadt railway. Karlovy Vary Airport is an international airport located 4.5 kilometres (2.8 mi) south-east from the city, at the nearby village of Olšová Vrata. In winter 2020, the airport is only serviced by scheduled flights to Moscow.


Church of St. Mary Magdalene Karlsbad-Kirche.jpg
Church of St. Mary Magdalene
Orthodox Church of Saints Peter and Paul Russisch-orthodoxe Kirche.JPG
Orthodox Church of Saints Peter and Paul
Entry to 47th Karlovy Vary International Film Festival in Hotel Thermal 47. KVIFF, vstup do Termalu.JPG
Entry to 47th Karlovy Vary International Film Festival in Hotel Thermal
Mill Colonnade Karlovy Vary colonnade 1..jpg
Mill Colonnade


It is also known for the popular Czech liqueur Becherovka and the production of the famous glass manufacturer Moser Glass, which is considered as the most luxurious Czech brand. [11] The famous Karlovarské oplatky (Carlsbad wafers) originated in the city in 1867. It has also lent its name to "Carlsbad plums", candied stuffed zwetschgen.


In the 19th century, Karlovy Vary became a popular tourist destination, especially known for international celebrities who visited 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 one of Europe's major film events.

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. Moreover, the Palace Bristol Hotel in Karlovy Vary had been used as a model for The Grand Budapest Hotel movie.


Karlovy Vary is also home to ice hockey club HC Karlovy Vary and football club FC Slavia Karlovy Vary.

Notable people


People associated with the city

Commemorative plaque for Peter I of Russia in Karlovy Vary Anton, E. - carte de visite, Gedenksteen voor Peter de Grote.tif
Commemorative plaque for Peter I of Russia in Karlovy Vary

International relations

Carlsbad, New Mexico, United States [16] (after which Carlsbad Caverns National Park is named), Carlsbad, California, USA [17] Carlsbad Springs, Ontario, Canada, and Carlsbad, Texas, USA, take their names from Karlovy Vary's English name, Carlsbad. All of these places were so named because they were the sites of mineral springs or natural sources of mineral water.

Twin towns – sister cities

Karlovy Vary is twinned with: [18]

Related Research Articles

Carlsbad may refer to:

Cheb Town in Czech Republic

Cheb is a town in the Karlovy Vary Region of the Czech Republic, with about 32,000 inhabitants. It is on the river Ohře, at the foot of the Smrčiny near the border with Germany. Before the 1945 expulsion of the German speaking population, the town was the centre of the German-speaking region known as Egerland, part of the Northern Austro-Bavarian dialect area.

Karlovy Vary Region District of the Czech Republic

The Karlovy Vary Region or Carlsbad Region is an administrative unit of the Czech Republic, located in the westernmost part of its historical region of Bohemia. It is named after its capital Karlovy Vary. The region is world-famous for its spas, including Karlovy Vary and Mariánské Lázně.

Mariánské Lázně Town in Czech Republic

Mariánské Lázně is a spa town in the Karlovy Vary Region of the Czech Republic. The town, surrounded by green mountains, is a mosaic of parks and noble houses. Most of its buildings come from the town's Golden Era in the second half of the 19th century, when many celebrities and top European rulers came to enjoy the curative carbon dioxide springs.

Jáchymov Town in Czech Republic

Jáchymov, until 1945 known also by its German name of Sankt Joachimsthal or Joachimsthal is a spa town in the Karlovy Vary Region of Bohemia, Czech Republic. It is situated at an altitude of 733 m (2,405 ft) above sea level in the eponymous St. Joachim's valley in the Ore Mountains, close to the Czech border with Germany.

Becherovka Herbal bitters from the Czech Republic

Becherovka, formerly Karlsbader Becherbitter, is a herbal bitters, often drunk as a digestive aid. It is produced in Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic by the Jan Becher company. The brand is owned by Pernod Ricard. It is made from a secret recipe based on more than twenty types of herbs and spices.

Ohře River in Germany and the Czech Republic

The Ohře or, slightly less commonly in English sources, the Eger, is a 316 km long river in Germany (50 km) and the Czech Republic (266 km), left tributary of the Elbe. The catchment area of the river is 5,588 km2, of which 4,601 km2 is in the Czech Republic, 920 km2 in Bavaria and 67 km2 in Saxony. It is the fourth longest river in the Czech Republic.

Karlovy Vary District District in Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic

Karlovy Vary District or Carlsbad District is a district (okres) within the Karlovy Vary Region of the Czech Republic. Its administrative center is Karlovy Vary.

Františkovy Lázně Town in Czech Republic

Františkovy Lázně is a spa town in Cheb District of Karlovy Vary Region, in the Czech Republic. Together with neighbouring Karlovy Vary and Mariánské Lázně, it is part of the renowned West Bohemian Spa Triangle. The historic town centre, under monumental protection since 1992, was nominated for inclusion in the UNESCO World Heritage roster.

Spa towns in the Czech Republic

There are number of spa towns in the Czech Republic. Between the oldest and most visited are the spas of Karlovy Vary, Mariánské Lázně, Františkovy Lázně, Luhačovice and Poděbrady. In 2011 the Czech spas were visited by around 700,000 guests, of whom around half were foreigners, mainly from Germany, Russia and Austria.

Poděbrady Town in Central Bohemian, Czech Republic

Poděbrady is a historical spa town in the Central Bohemian Region, Czech Republic. It lies on the river Labe 50 kilometres (31 mi) east of Prague on the D11 highway. It obtained the status of town from the king of Bohemia in 1472. A historic milestone in the life of the town was the year 1905, when it was visited by the German estate owner Prince von Bülow. This well-known water diviner found in the inner courtyard of the castle signs of a strong spring, which was later bored to a depth of 97.6 metres (320 ft). The discovery of carbonic mineral water resulted in the opening of the first spa in 1908. After World War I Poděbrady rapidly changed into a spa town which from 1926 specialized in the treatment of cardiovascular diseases, rapidly gaining renown not only in the Czech Republic, but also abroad in countries including Austria, Germany, Russia and the United States.

Grandhotel Pupp hotel in Karlovy Vary (Czech Republic)

The Grandhotel Pupp is a 228-room luxury hotel located in Karlovy Vary (Carlsbad), Czech Republic. The hotel hosts the annual Karlovy Vary International Film Festival.

Karlsbad may refer to:


Mattoni is a brand of mineral water, owned by Mattoni 1873 company, based in Karlovy Vary, the Czech Republic. It is the largest producer of mineral water in Central Europe.

Fellner & Helmer Architecture office (est.1873 in Vienna)

Fellner & Helmer was an architecture studio founded in 1873 by Austrian architects Ferdinand Fellner and Hermann Helmer.

Josef von Löschner Czech doctor and university educator

Josef Wilhelm Freiherr von Löschner or in Czech Josef Vilém z Löschneru was an Austrian physician born in Kaaden, Bohemia. He studied at Gymnasium Kadaň.

Viktor Tietz Czech chess player

Viktor Tietz (13 April, 1859, Rumburg was an ethnic-German Austrian and Czechoslovak chess player, chess life organizer and local politician.

Mill Colonnade

The Mill Colonnade is a large colonnade containing several hot springs in the spa town of Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic. The structure is one of the traditional symbols of the town.

Jan Becher is a Czech liqueur company headquartered in Karlovy Vary. The most famous product of Becher is Becherovka.

Jaroslav Otruba Czech architect, urban planner, designer and artist (1916–2007)

Ing. arch. Dr. Jaroslav Otruba was a Czech architect, urban planner, designer and artist.


  1. "Population of Municipalities – 1 January 2020". Czech Statistical Office. 30 April 2020.
  2. Vývoj návštěvnosti lázní v letech 2000–2011
  3. "Karlovy Vary - Urban Monument Zone".
  4. Walter Koschmal, Marek Nekula, Joachim Rogall (2001). Deutsche und Tschechen: Geschichte, Kultur, Politik. C.H.Beck. pp. 338–39.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  5. Ivan Lutterer, Milan Majtán, Rudolf Šrámek (1982). Zeměpisná jména Československa: slovník vybraných zeměpisných jmen s výkladem jejich původu a historického vývoje.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  6. "Zdeněk Vališ: 4. březen 1919 v Kadani". Virtually.cz. Retrieved 26 March 2013.
  7. Historický lexikon obcí ČR 1869–2005
  8. Rozhlas.cz, Počet obyvatel Karlovarského kraje
  9. "Nejstarší tunelová lanovka v Evropě slaví 100 let". iDNES.cz. 28 May 2007.
  10. "Karlovy Vary – Unikátní lázně, do kterých se sjíždí celý svět". Stream.cz (in Czech).
  11. "Studie: Nejluxusnější českou značkou je Moser". MediaGuru.cz (in Czech).
  12. hu:Pulváry Károly
  13. http://www.hiddeneurope.co.uk/escape-from-carlsbad
  14. http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/40411/Kemal-Ataturk/24780/Military-career
  15. Johannes Baier: Goethe und die Thermalquellen von Karlovy Vary (Karlsbad, Tschechische Republik). In: Jahresberichte und Mitteilungen des Oberrheinischen Geologischen Vereins. N. F. Bd. 94, 2012, ISSN   0078-2947, S. 87–103.
  16. About Carlsbad, NM Archived 17 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine retrieved 2012-03-23
  17. City of Carlsbad - History of Carlsbad Archived 23 November 2012 at WebCite , retrieved 2012-03-23.
  18. "Zahraniční vztahy" (in Czech). Statutární město Karlovy Vary. Retrieved 22 June 2020.

Further reading