Imperial spa town
This town is a little gem about 2 hours' drive from Prague. Formerly known by its German name, Karlsbad, it looks more like Vienna than Prague with its Austro-Hungarian imperial architecture. Of course you must see the hot springs and sample the water, even if it doesn't taste very good. It's fun just to walk around and take in the atmosphere, although a tastier souvenir than the spa water is trhe oplatky or wafer cookies. You can buy a box to take home but iyou should also treat yourself to the traditional way of eating them: heated lightly on a griddle.
If you're interested in nature you might want to pay Bozi Dar a visit. It's just a stone's throw away from the German border and this lovely little town was built next to a moor. There's a wooden trail with several info boards in Czech, German and English along the way. Make sure you bring some sneakers or something though as the trail seemed to be really old and several stakes were broken. So watch your step!
The Park Colonnade
The Park Colonnade was built from cast-iron prefabricated elements in 1881. It was a part of concert hall and park restaurant - called The Blanensky Pavilion, which was designed by Vienna architects Fellner and Helmer.
The Colonnade functioned as a promenade connecting The Park Spring springing in the basement of Military Balneal Institute, with the concert hall.
Karlovy Vary my home town
I am from Karlovy Vary, a significant spa and tourist centre, located in the picturesque valley of the small river of Tepla. The town was founded in 1358 by Emperor Charles IV during whose reign the medieval Czech state flourished. Legend has it that Charles IV discovered the local warm springs during a stag hunt. In 1370 the town was awarded the Royal prerogatives. The development of Karlovy Vary continued in the 15th and 16th centuries. In 1522 the physician Vaclav Payer published the first medical description of the springs. At the end of the 16th century there existed some 200 spa houses into whose cellar baths warm spa water was brought by wooden troughs. Floods and fires became disastrous for the spa - the great fire of 1604 almost destroyed it.
A new upsurge of the town was recorded in the 17th century and continued in the 18 and 19th centuries. The visitors spread the fame of the town, contributed to its construction and left permanent monuments to their visit. Karlovy Vary was visited by royalty, (August I, Petr I, Charles VI), by Czech, German, Russian and Polish nobility, and there was an influx of outstanding cultural figures, of them most notably Beethoven, Schiller, Goethe, Chateaubriand, Chopin, Wagner.
A Czech nationalist movement called the National Revival (nÃ¡rodnÃ obrozenÃ) started at the end of the 18th century, slowly bringing the Czech language and culture back to life.To the year 1912 Karlovy Vary experienced a period of prosperity. Proof to this are large monumental buildings and the splendid architecture from the second half of the 19th century which imprints on the town a uniform character and unique charm still admired by today's visitors (the Mill Colonnade, the Market Colonnade, the Imperial Bath and other spa houses, the building of the theatre, Grand Hotel Pupp, the Greek orthodox and Anglican churches).
Between WWI and WWII, under the presidency of T. G. Masaryk, Czechoslovakia was a strong democratic country with a high standard of living. 40 years of communist rule that followed WWII left a sad legacy. Czechoslovakia freed itself from communism in 1989 and split into the Czech Republic and Slovakia on January 1, 1993.