Františkovy Lázně is a spa town in the Karlovy Vary Region of the Czech Republic. Together with neighbouring Karlovy Vary and Mariánské Lázně, it is part of the renowned West Bohemian Spa Triangle. In 2021, the town became part of the transnational UNESCO World Heritage Site under the name 'Great Spa Towns of Europe'.

The salutary effects of the surrounding springs were known from the late 14th century on. The sources from which, according to ancient law, water was drafted and brought to the city, were first used locally for salutary purposes. Later, the water was also shipped in earthenware bottles and in 1700, it reportedly sold more water than all other spas in the Empire combined. About 1705, an inn was erected at the site of a mineral spring later known as Franzensquelle.

In 1793, the town was officially founded under the name Kaiser Franzensdorf, after Emperor Francis II, and later renamed Franzensbad, under which name it became a famous spa (Bad). The spa was founded by Eger-based doctor Bernhard Adler (1753–1810). He promoted the expansion of spa facilities and the accommodation for those seeking healing and promoted the transformation of the swampy moorland with paths and footbridges to well-known sources.

When in 1791 Adler had a pavilion and a water basin erected at the Franzensquelle, he sparked the Egerer Weibersturm ('Women's storm of Eger') by numerous women who earned their livelihood in the scooping, transport and sale of the water in Eger. Feeling their water-bearing rights threatened, they demolished his premises. The town council of Eger intervened and made the extension of Franzensbad as a health resort possible. The result was an extensive recreation area, with easy access from the city of Cheb. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was one of the most famous guests in the early days; his visits to Franzensbad with Johannes Urzidil were extensively reported in the book Goethe in Böhmen (1932, revised 1962 and 1965). Another famous visitor was Ludwig van Beethoven, who was accompanied by Antonia Brentano and her family.

During the 19th century, patients included numerous aristocrats, especially Russian nobles, and at the same time widely known doctors bolstered the reputation of Franzensbad as a therapeutic resort. Franzensbad offered one of the first peat pulp baths in Europe, popular especially with female guests. A public spa house was built in 1827. The writer Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach portrayed her stay in her early work Aus Franzensbad in 1858. Other notable guests included Theodor Herzl (in 1904), Emperor Francis Joseph I of Austria and Archduke Charles I of Austria.

In 1862, Franzensbad became an autonomous municipality and obtained town privileges three years later. Until 1918 it was part of the Bohemian crown land of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy.

After World War I, the town's reputation began to fade. Then part of the new state of Czechoslovakia, the spa lost much of its patronage and was hit hard by the Great Depression of 1929. After World War II, the German-speaking population was expelled under the Beneš decrees; many of them settled in Bayreuth in the German state of Bavaria. The spa, officially renamed Františkovy Lázně in Czech, was nationalized under the rule of the Communist Party. After the Velvet Revolution of 1989, a stock company was established to revive the status of Františkovy Lázně as a venue for international guests.

Spa

The local natural mineral water has a relatively high content of dissolved carbon dioxide. The effects of the carbonic baths are shown in the better performance of the cardiovascular system, in the mild decrease of blood pressure in the pulse, in the lower occurrence of chronic inflammatory processes in the body, and also in terms of rheumatics, and in the improved blood circulation in tissues and the vegetative stabilisation.

Culture

The townscape of Františkovy Lázně is largely shaped by neoclassical and Belle Époque buildings of the Habsburg era, as well as by extended parks and gardens with numerous springs and bathhouses.

The Social House is the dominant feature of the spa centre. It was built in 1877 in neo-renaissance style. It is the venue of congresses, balls and other social events and the building also houses a casino.

Theatre of Božena Němcová was built in the current area in 1868. New theatre building was built in neoclassical style in 1927–1928 and interiors were decorated in Art Deco style.

The town has two museums: the Town Museum and small Museum of Motorcycles and Cars.

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Details

Founded: 14th century
Category: Historic city squares, old towns and villages in Czech Republic

Rating

4.8/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Jiri Janda (2 months ago)
Byli jsme poprvé v lázních a úžasné. Skvělý personál na všech úrovních , výborné jídlo, klid a pohoda. Možnost výletů na kole, plavání, in line. Určitě plánujeme příští rok znovu a opět minimálně na 14 dní.
liska (4 months ago)
Beautiful hotel in a quiet part of Františkovy Lázně, just a few steps to the center. Pleasant and helpful receptionists, waitresses and nurses. Absolutely amazing cuisine. Great sauna world, whirlpool, pool and salt cave. Reserved guarded parking, free rental of bathrobe and nordic chopsticks. Thank you all for a pleasant stay, we will only recommend the hotel.
Luboš Svatoň (5 months ago)
A completely weekly spa stay spent in February! Beautiful hotel, beautiful clean fragrant rooms, great food, very helpful and professional staff, and the staff of the dining room and bar MAX nice and helpful- HEALTH BANDA FROM OSTRAVA! I HIGHLY RECOMMEND !!! MAX MAX Satisfaction !!!
Michal Stočes (6 months ago)
Well-equipped hotel and, without exception, great staff!
Petr Dejmal (9 months ago)
The hotel presented itself at the very beginning with a very friendly reservation, thanks to its great receptionist! The stay and services were great. Pleasant and clean rooms, attractive restaurant with excellent service. Eat one poem with a single flaw. Portions and numbers of courses are based on the obesity of each client and diner. Deadly ?. Soups unique! So many thanks for the care and hopefully see you soon. Petr Dejmal
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Veste Coburg

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Early modern times through Thirty Years' War

In 1485, in the Partition of Leipzig, Veste Coburg fell to the Ernestine branch of the family. A year later, Elector Friedrich der Weise and Johann der Beständige took over the rule of Coburg. Johann used the Veste as a residence from 1499. In 1506/07, Lucas Cranach the Elder lived and worked in the Veste. From April to October 1530, during the Diet of Augsburg, Martin Luther sought protection at the Veste, as he was under an Imperial ban at the time. Whilst he stayed at the fortress, Luther continued with his work translating the Bible into German. In 1547, Johann Ernst moved the residence of the ducal family to a more convenient and fashionable location, Ehrenburg Palace in the town centre of Coburg. The Veste now only served as a fortification.

In the further splitting of the Ernestine line, Coburg became the seat of the Herzogtum von Sachsen-Coburg, the Duchy of Saxe-Coburg. The first duke was Johann Casimir (1564-1633), who modernized the fortifications. In 1632, the fortress was unsuccessfully besieged by Imperial and Bavarian forces commanded by Albrecht von Wallenstein for seven days during the Thirty Years' War. Its defence was commanded by Georg Christoph von Taupadel. On 17 March 1635, after a renewed siege of five months' duration, the Veste was handed over to the Imperials under Guillaume de Lamboy.

17th through 19th centuries

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20th century

The dynasty ended with the reign of Herzog Carl Eduard (1884-1954), also known as Charles Edward, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, a grandson of Queen Victoria, who until 1919 also was the 2nd Duke of Albany in the United Kingdom. Under his rule, many changes made to the Veste in the 19th century were reversed under architect Bodo Ebhardt, with the aim of restoring a more authentic medieval look. Along with the other ruling princes of Germany, Carl Eduard was deposed in the revolution of 1918-1919. After Carl Eduard abdicated in late 1918, the Veste came into possession of the state of Bavaria, but the former duke was allowed to live there until his death. The works of art collected by the family were gifted to the Coburger Landesstiftung, a foundation, which today runs the museum.

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Today

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