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Karlovy Vary is the most famous and also the largest Czech spa, and has the therapeutic effects of the local mineral springs to thank for its renown. According to legend, it was discovered by the Czech king and Roman emperor Charles IV. The king held an excursion sometime around 1350 from the royal Loket Castle into the surrounding forests, where he allegedly by chance found a hot spring and established a spa on the site.

Karlovy Vary / © Česká produkční s.r.o.Karlovy Vary - Golf ResortKarlovy Vary / © David Marvan
Karlovy Vary - peat compress / © David MarvanKarlovy Vary - Park Colonnade / © Ladislav RennerKarlovy Vary - Hot Spring / © Ladislav Renner
Karlovy Vary / © Ladislav RennerKarlovy VaryKarlovy Vary / © Ladislav Renner
In Europe, similar thermal phenomena of such intensity are only to be found in Iceland. Thanks to their chemical composition, the local mineral springs are one of the most effective mineral waters in the world. Thirty hot springs with temperatures ranging from 41 °C to 73 °C rise to the surface from a depth of 2,000m. The fountains are guarded by charming colonnades and a provide shelter for a pleasant promenade with a cup in hand. Though in order to moderate the bitter taste of the springs, spa guests nibble on the popular Karlovy Vary wafers.
 
It is mostly disorders of the metabolism and digestive tract that are treated in Karlovy Vary. Patients also come here regain their strength after suffering oncological diseases.
 
It is said, with a little exaggeration of course, that the 13th healing spring in the town is the Becherovka liqueur. The alcoholic drink, which has been produced since 1807 using Karlovy Vary water and according to a secret recipe of 32 types of herbs and spices, is the fourth most popular souvenir that visitors take away with them from the Czech Republic. The world famous Mattoni mineral water is also bottled in Karlovy Vary.
 
Apart from spas, Karlovy Vary is also famed for hosting the largest film festival in the Czech Republic. The festival has been held here since 1946, always at the start of July under the name  Karlovy Vary International Film Festival. The town is also home to the oldest golf course in the Czech Republic, which is very popular among players. Karlovy Vary Airport, which was opened in 1929, is located not far from the town.

Points of interest
Many famous people have travelled from across the world to visit the healing springs of Karlovy Vary, including Johann Wolfgang Goethe and Fryderyk Chopin. Goethe even said that other than Weimar and Rome, Karlovy Vary was the place where he would most like to live.
 

 

Czech Republic

Karlovy Vary: Location

GPS latitude/longitude: 50.23622 , 12.86842

 

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