A bird's-eye view of Karlovy Vary
|Rivers||Ohře, Teplá, Rolava|
|Elevation||447 m (1,467 ft)|
|Coordinates|| / 50.233; 12.867 / 50.233; 12.867|
|Area||59.10 km (23 sq mi)|
|Population||49,781 (As of 2015)|
|Density||842/km (2,181/sq mi)|
|Mayor||Ing. Petr Kulhánek|
|- summer (DST)||CEST (UTC+2)|
|Postal code||360 01|
Location in Karlovy Vary District
|Wikimedia Commons: Karlovy Vary|
Karlovy Vary or Carlsbad (Czech pronunciation: [ˈkarlovɪ ˈvarɪ] ( listen); German: Karlsbad; Yiddish: קרלסבאד Karlsbad) is a spa town situated in western Bohemia, Czech Republic, on the confluence of the rivers Ohře and Teplá, approximately 130 km (81 mi) west of Prague (Praha). It is named after Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperor and King of Bohemia, who founded the city in 1370. It is historically famous for its hot springs (13 main springs, about 300 smaller springs, and the warm-water Teplá River). It is the most visited spa town in the Czech Republic.
An ancient late Bronze Age fortified settlement was found in Drahovice. A Slavic settlement in Karlovy Vary is documented by findings in Tašovice and Sedlec. People lived in the close proximity of later Karlovy Vary as far back as the 13th century and they must have been aware of the curative effects of close thermal springs.
Around 1350, Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperor organized an expedition into the forests surrounding modern-day Karlovy Vary during a stay in Loket. On the site of a spring, he established a spa called the Horké Lázně u Lokte (Hot Spas at Loket). The location was subsequently renamed after him once he had acclaimed the healing power of the hot springs, at least according to legend. Charles IV granted the city privileges on 14 August 1370. Earlier settlements can be also found in the outskirts of today's city.
An important political event took place in the town in 1819, with the issuing of the Carlsbad Decrees following a conference there. Initiated by the Austrian Minister of State Klemens von Metternich, the decrees were intended to implement anti-liberal censorship within the German Confederation.
Due to publications produced by physicians such as David Becher and Josef von Löschner, the city developed into a famous spa resort in the 19th century and was visited by many members of European aristocracy as well as celebrities from many fields of endeavor. It became more popular after railway lines to Cheb and Prague were completed in 1870.
The number of visitors rose from 134 families in the 1756 season to 26,000 guests annually at the end of the 19th century. By 1911, that figure had reached 71,000, but the outbreak of World War I in 1914 greatly disrupted the tourism on which the town depended.
At the end of World War I in 1918, the large German-speaking population of Bohemia was incorporated into the new state of Czechoslovakia in accordance with the Treaty of Saint-Germain-en-Laye (1919). As a result, the German-speaking majority of Karlovy Vary protested. A demonstration on 4 March 1919 passed peacefully, but later that month, six demonstrators were killed by Czech troops after a demonstration turned unruly.
In 1938, the majority German-speaking areas of Czechoslovakia, known as the Sudetenland, became part of Nazi Germany according to the terms of the Munich Agreement. These areas included Karlovy Vary. After World War II, in accordance with the Potsdam Agreement, the vast majority of the people of Karlovy Vary were forcibly expelled from the city because of their German ethnicity. In accordance with the Beneš decrees, their property was confiscated without compensation.
Since the end of Communist rule in Czechoslovakia in 1989, and the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, the presence of Russian businesses in Karlovy Vary has steadily increased.
In 2012, foreigners were around 7% of the population of the Karlovy Vary region. After Prague, this is the highest proportion in the Czech Republic. The largest group of foreigners were Vietnamese, followed by Germans, Russians and Ukrainians.
Local buses and cable cars take passengers to most areas of the city. The city can be reached from other locations by inter-city buses and by train. The city is connected by expressway R6. International Karlovy Vary Airport is located 4.5 km south-east from the city, at the nearby village of Olšová Vrata.
In the 19th century, Karlovy Vary became a popular tourist destination, especially known for international celebrities who visited for spa treatment. The city is also known for the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, which is one of the oldest in the world and one of Europe's major film events. It is also known for the popular Czech liqueur Becherovka and the production of the famous glass manufacturer Moser Glass, which is located in Karlovy Vary. The famous Karlovarské oplatky (Carlsbad wafers) originated in the city in 1867. It has also lent its name to the "Carlsbad plums", a late harvest damson plums preserved in sugar syrup.
The city has been used as the location for a number of film-shoots, including the 2006 films Last Holiday and box-office hit Casino Royale, both of which used the city's Grandhotel Pupp in different guises.
Karlovy Vary are also home to ice hockey clubs HC Karlovy Vary and its junior branch HC Energie Karlovy Vary (juniors).
Carlsbad, New Mexico, United States (after which Carlsbad Caverns National Park is named), Carlsbad, California, USA Carlsbad Springs, Ontario, Canada, and Carlsbad, Texas, USA, take their names from Karlovy Vary's English name, Carlsbad. All of these places were so named because they were the sites of mineral springs or natural sources of mineral water.
Karlovy Vary is twinned with:
Published in the 19th century
Published in the 20th century
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Karlovy Vary.|
|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Karlovy Vary.|
Towns and villages of Karlovy Vary District