IntroductionThe town of Karlovy Vary (often known by its German name Karlsbad) lies about 120 kilometres from Prague. It is situated in the western part of Czech Republic (Bohemia) near the border with Germany. Karlovy Vary is best known in the Czech Republic as the largest spa town in the country as well as a producer of a local herbal liqueur called Becherovka.
The town of Karlovy Vary was established by Charles IV in the 14th century. Legend says that when Charles IV was hunting in the local woods he came upon a spring of hot water drawing out of the earth and he pronounced it as water with healing powers. The town of Karlovy Vary has had a very turbulent history and was devastated by the Thirty Years War. Despite all this the town has managed to flourish and in the 18th and 19th century it became a spa town for the rich and the prominent. The first public spa house was built in the 18th century and many more followed since, mainly in the 19th century when the two main Colonnades were built.
Nowadays Karlovy Vary enjoys a clientele from all over the world. The city is surrounded by about 300 small mineral springs although only 13 of these are suitable for drinking in the Colonnades. There are many hotels and guest-houses catering for the town's visitors, as well as sanatoriums providing specialist medical treatments.
Each year at the beginning of July Karlovy Vary attracts film enthusiasts and the city hosts the International A class Film Festival which is highly regarded in the worldwide cinematographic circle.
Karlovy Vary is not only known for its balneology but also for the aforementioned Becherovka liqueur as well as for Moser the glass manufacturer, and for its long history in Porcelain making. The town has featured in a number of international movies such as Casino Royal and Last Holiday.