Mariánské Lázne Spa Town

Mariánské Lázně, Czech Republic

Mariánské Lázně (Marienbad for German) 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. In 2021, the town became part of the transnational UNESCO World Heritage Site under the name 'Great Spa Towns of Europe'.

Although the town itself is only about two hundred years old, the locality has been inhabited much longer. The first written record dates back to 1273. The springs first appear in a document dating from 1341 where they are called 'the Auschowitzer springs' belonging to the Teplá Abbey. It was only through the efforts of Josef Nehr, the abbey's physician, who from 1779 until his death in 1820 worked hard to demonstrate the curative properties of the springs, that the waters began to be used for medicinal purposes. The place obtained its current name of Marienbad in 1808; became a watering-place in 1818, and received its charter as a town in 1868.

By the early 20th century, approximately 1,000,000 bottles of mineral water were exported annually from Marienbad. The water from the Cross Spring (Křížový pramen) was evaporated and the final product was sold as a laxative under the name of sal teplensis. The modern spa town was founded by the Teplá abbots, namely Karl Kaspar Reitenberger, who also bought some of the surrounding forests to protect them. Under the guidance of gardener Václav Skalník, architect Jiří Fischer, and builder Anton Turner the inhospitable marshland valley was changed into a park-like countryside with colonnades, neoclassical buildings and pavilions around the springs.

The name Marienbad first appeared in 1786; since 1865 it has been a town. Then came a second period of growth, the town's Golden Era. Between 1870 and 1914 many new hotels, colonnades and other buildings, designed by Friedrich Zickler, Josef Schaffer, and Arnold Heymann, were constructed or rebuilt from older houses. In 1872 the town got a railway connection with the town of Cheb (Eger) and thus with the whole Austro-Hungarian Empire and the rest of Europe.

The town soon became one of the top European spas, popular with notable figures and rulers who often returned there. Among them were such names as Johann Wolfgang Goethe, Frédéric Chopin, Thomas Edison, Richard Wagner or Prince Friedrich of Saxony, King Edward VII of the United Kingdom, the Russian Czar Nicholas II, and Emperor Franz Joseph I and many others. At those times, about 20,000 visitors came every year. It was also a popular resort and vacation venue for European rabbis and their Hasidic followers, accommodating their needs with kosher restaurants, religious prayer services, etc.

Marienbad remained a popular destination between World War I and World War II. After World War II, the ethnic German population of the town was forcibly expelled according to the Potsdam agreement, thereby emptying the town of the majority of its population. After the communist coup-d'état in 1948; it got sealed off from most of its foreign visitors. After the return of democracy in 1989 much effort was put into restoring the town into its original character. Today it is not only a spa town but also a popular holiday resort thanks to its location among the green mountains of the Slavkovský les and the Český les, sport facilities (the town's first golf course was opened in 1905 by the British King Edward VII) and the proximity to other famous spa towns, such as Karlovy Vary (Carlsbad) or Františkovy Lázně (Franzensbad).



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Founded: 13th century
Category: Historic city squares, old towns and villages in Czech Republic


4.5/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Gerelt Magic (13 months ago)
Welcome Home is the device of the Hotel and we feel it like very warm welcome and every member was very kind. Me and my family are very thankfull for the time in this our new Home and to everyone which is part of it. We decidet definitly in the future to be there.
Serge Shlykov (14 months ago)
Amazing spa, good service, healthy food, a place that you really want to come back to. Price is totally justified for the sublime experience you get. 5/5
Dimitrios Constantine Makris (16 months ago)
A vice experience that I will repeat I believe. In general we had great time. I was expecting a more experienced staff and speaking more English. Room service we never see but we stayed only 2 nights. Reception is great, food very nice, breakfast sublime! Is a place I would like to visit again .... was very fun!
Wiky Osi (17 months ago)
Nice wellness in this small city. The outside pool area is not big but well kept. The rooms are nice in the newly renovated part. The receptionist was great, you will automatically cheer up from his honest smile! Highlight: their interpretation of shakshuka at breakfast. If you like savory and melted cheese you will love it. Overall the breakfast has a high quality also compared with other top notch properties in Europe, with some special details (ex. mint, lime or berries for your morning drink/prosecco, freeze-dried fruits, very good cold cuts, ...).
Mc Ch (20 months ago)
We went to celebrate my wife's birthday. The hotel itself was beautiful, although the only slight disappointment was that the room itself was a bit dated for a 5* hotel. We really enjoyed the 5 pools and especially the salt water pool. Service was excellent, the hotel was nice enough to leave some chocolates and wine on her birthday! There was a wide variety of options for breakfast! Would totally recommend it!
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