The theater is a neo-renaissance building from the late 19th century, the same era that most of the town was built. The exterior looks promising.
The programme in the showcases, which is displayed in different languages, reveals that one should not expect too much from the quality and variety of the performances. The September schedule shows just four concerts per month. On the schedule they have operetta and opera pieces, easy classics, and folk dancing. I.e. exactly the kind of show that entertains elderly tourists without high cultural ambitions. The programme matches my general impression of Marienbad as a sleepy spa which attracts mostly a clientele of 70 and beyond.
The colonnade on the small hill opposite the Casino is known as Karolinin pramen. It covers two sources of healing waters and marks the end of the park terrace which begins at the Singing Fountain.
On the hill behind it you'll spot the neo-Romanesque catholic church of the Assumption of Mary (Nanebevzetí Panna Maria).
Krizovy pramen, the Source of the Cross, was the first of Marienbad's water sources which was used for medical purposes. Its water contains Glauber salt, whciuh is known for its strong effects on digestion (think twice what you were planning to do for the rest of the day before you drink more than a sip from it).
Together with two other sources, Karolina and Rudolfuv pramen, its water can be taken and drunk inside the temple-like building next to the kolonáda. Through the openings in the floor you can look at the sources in the basement. The water is running from taps and you are free to take it. However, the use of cups is strictly enforced. Drinking right from the tap is not allowed, I think for reasons of hygiene. Plastic cups are available, or buy one of the typical china cups (see local customs tip) from the stall in the middle of the hall or from any souvenir shop around.
Regulars deposit their cups in the big shelf behind the water basins where they are kept for them (photo 5).
The Russian orthodox church (Pravoslavny kostel) is said to be the most interesting among Marienbad's churches. It is open to visitors during the day but, as I sadly found out after climbing up that steep path, remains closed from noon to 1 p.m. so I could not see the interior. ***grumble*** Time your visit accordingly...
The church is located in Ruská St; from the main street (Hlavni tridá) a path with some stairs leads up between the houses at the end of a tiny dead-end street. You can spot the church from down there, so losing your way is hardly possible.
Nové Lazne (with hacek on the e, hence pronounced "lah-znye" just like name of the town) is the most impressive of the spa buildings. The style can be described as "neo-renaissance" with some goodwill, it is a typical example of the eclectic style at the end of the 19th century. The huge complex hosts facilities for all kinds of spa treatments and a hotel.
Its next-door neighbour on the left is the Casino, a building in French neo-baroque which reminds me of Paris. Both buildings go well together because poth are painted in the same colour pattern with a yellow base, plae yellow upper walls, creamy white columns and windowframes and green copper roofs.
The park is the centre of Marienbad's spa area. It fills the bottom of the valley. Around it and up the surrounding slopes the countless hotel and spa buildings are grouped like the spectators in a stadium. The ground is slowly rising towards the kolonáda at the upper end. The wide meadow has some beautiful trees, but flower beds and such are mostly recent designs.
The one ugly architectural sin from the communist era, the so-called "Arnika", is gone for good. In the 1970s a new spa centre and hotel with space for 700 guests was projected but remained a half-finished ruin. It has in the meantime been totally removed and substituted by a new fountain and park area (photo 5).
The colonnade is probably the prettiest architecture in this town among the many other beautiful buildings from the era known as the belle epoque, the late 19th century. It was built in 1889 to provide a covered walk for the most important activity in an elegant spa: watching people and being watched. The construction is built from forged iron in delicate, lace-like patterns. Note the elaborate cosntruction of the vaulted ceiling and roof. The frescoes in the vaults are surely younger, and a bit weird. The slight curve of the ground plan follows the slope in the back and adds to the charming appearance.
The front side of the kolonáda opens towards the park. The closed back wall hosts shops, cafes and a public toilet (czk 10 or 0.50 €, watched by a real person who can change small cash so you don't need the exact coins). In the middle there is a stage where free concerts of popular music take place.
The fountain next to the kolonáda is known as the „singing fountain“. Its various features do water ballet performances on various pieces of music, directed by a computer. The shows take place every odd hour during the day, beginning at 7 a.m. In the evening they start hourly, at 9 and 10 p.m. the fountain is illuminated. It "sings" only in the summer months from May to October, though.
They have 8 different pieces of music with matching choreographies, plus 3 more for special occasions. The fountain is out in the open and the show is entirely free. It takes no longer than about 5-7 minutes (depending on the length of the musical piece), so come on time.
Check the board for the timetable which piece of music is performed at what hour. The schedule is displayed in four languages: Czech, English, German and Russian.
The water show is a nice gimmick to watch, and I think it is a must to have seen it at least once. Our bus driver timed the departure so everyone in the group had the chance to attend the 1 p.m. performance.
I am trying to upload a video to my page to give you an idea but somehow this doesn't seem to work...
By the way, if you want to catch a video or photos, the best spot to stand is among the terraced flower beds on the slope because you will be higher than the fountain itself and everyone else and have some trees as a dark background.
In the town, there are two different types of advertising.
The first I saw, was a tourist information map of the town, quite detailed and worth looking at if you haven't a map yourself. This was the usual big square map behind glass.
Now, the one's that really made me stop and have a very close look at, were along the walkway from the Lazenska Colonnade to the Caroline Spring Pavilion. These were special, as on closer examination I found very detailed work, Lion's on the side and even what looked to be some Mermaids around the top.
I seems like everything is done well in what looks to be a "perfect" town.
The little Tourist Train hadn't begun operating but the Horse and Carriage rides were.
We were rather early and saw them heading to their starting point.
The company is "Horse Carriage Company," and you will find the Carriage stand at Goethe Square,
next to the Virgin Mary Assumption Church
If you want, they will come and pick you up at your hotel (free), just ask when booking. Normal rides take between 20mins to 1 hour, or you can make an arrangement with the driver.
Known as the Concert Hall or Marble Hall of the Social House Casino, this is the main venue of concerts.
The Casino is another stunning building, built in the style of the Italian renaissance between 1899 -1901.
Evidently the acoustics are excellent and the interior is magnificent. It is here the oldest symphony orchestra in the Czech Republic - West Bohemian Symphony Orchestra (ZSO) resides. The Orchestra became permanent orchestra in 1821.
For performances and tickets, please check the website.
The beautiful Spa town had beautiful parks! A famous garden architect [Vaclav Skalnik] had to fill ravines and dry up swamps in order to create the beautiful parks.
There are numerous pathways that lead to Spa Pavilions and a big expanse of lawn with trees and shrubs scattered around.
The Crocus bulbs had emerged from the ground and were flowering as were the blooming Annual's. I loved the stream and the pond, such a nice area to sit on one of the many garden seats to chill out!
The Esplanade Hotel is also a Spa Resort where you may want to come to lose weight as they have a specialized weight loss programs.. As well, diseases of kidneys, urinary tract, air passages are treated. If you come here, you can enjoy traditional baths in mineral water, drinks of healing mineral water, massages, inhalations, baths, gas injections and physical exercises.
The Esplanade is situated just outside Marianske Lazne on the side of a hill and has a wonderful view of the city, and isn't far from the Royal Marienbad golf course.
Important guests that have stayed here are Thomas Edison, the American inventor of the lightbulb, microphone and phonograph. King Edward VII stayed at the Hotel in 1911 when the Hotel was brand new!
Mirove Namesti is a one-way street that begins at the end of the main street in Marianske Lazne. It is along here where quite a few of the outstanding Spa Hotel's are located, some are a bit different because of bronze statues on their roof's and on the outside of the buildings.
On the corner where the main street meets Mirove Namesti, is the "Grand Hotel Pacifik." The facade is stunning art nouveau and on the roof looks to be bronze angel's and even a couple of gargoyles.
Across the road on the opposite corner, is the striped building that really stands out. It also has an art nouveau façade. Next to it, is a beige/brown Art Nouveau Hotel that looks to have three Cherub's on the roof holding onto a large bell.
I found the statue of Karel Reitenberger near the Singing Fountain. The statue was unveiled on the 100th anniversary of his birth in 1779.
He was born to a miller. In 1800, he joined Tepla Abbey and was ordained as a priest in 1804 and elected an Abbot of Tepla Abbey in 1813. After a dispute over the abbey finances in 1827 he had to step down as abbot. He moved to Innsbruck where he lived until his death.
His statue is here, because he was one of three men instrumental in founding Marianske Lazne.
Cast in bronze, this large statue bears the inscription ...'He recognized the curative power of the springs and opened them to the ill, and therefore he rightly deserves to be called the founder of the town'.