Location in the Czech Republic
|• Mayor||Martin Kalina (Piráti)|
|• Total||51.79 km2 (20.00 sq mi)|
|Elevation||578 m (1,896 ft)|
|• Density||240/km2 (610/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC+1 (CET)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC+2 (CEST)|
|Part of||The Great Spa Towns of Europe|
|Inscription||2021 (44th Session)|
Mariánské Lázně (Czech pronunciation: [ˈmarɪjaːnskɛː ˈlaːzɲɛ]; German: Marienbad) is a spa town in Cheb District in the Karlovy Vary Region of the Czech Republic. It has about 12,000 inhabitants. Most of the town's buildings come from its 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.
The town centre with the spa cultural landscape is well preserved and is protected by law as an urban monument reservation. In 2021, the town became part of the transnational UNESCO World Heritage Site under the name "Great Spa Towns of Europe" because of its springs and architectural testimony to the popularity of spa towns in Europe during the 18th through 20th centuries.
The town is made up of town parts and villages of Mariánské Lázně, Hamrníky, Chotěnov-Skláře, Kladská, Stanoviště and Úšovice.
Mariánské Lázně is located about 25 kilometres (16 mi) southeast of Cheb and 31 kilometres (19 mi) southwest of Karlovy Vary. The municipal territory extends into three geomorphological regions: the eastern part lies in a hilly landscape of the Teplá Highlands, the southwestern part with most of the built-up area lies in a flat area of the Upper Palatine Forest Foothills, and the northern tip lies in the Slavkov Forest. Most of the territory lies in the Slavkov Forest Protected Landscape Area.
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, when there was a village of Úšovice. 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 (Kreuzquelle, 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. 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 were constructed or rebuilt from older houses. In 1872 the town got a railway connection with the town of Cheb 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. At that time, 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 was 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 a spa town and 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 spa towns, such as Karlovy Vary (Karlsbad) or Františkovy Lázně (Franzensbad).
As of 2022, with an average age of 46.4 years, the town has one of the oldest populations in the country, and the oldest among the towns with a population of over 10,000.
Mariánské Lázně Airport is situated on the southern border of the town.
The town's public transport is operated mainly by trolleybuses and accompanied by buses servicing the neighbouring villages. There are four trolleybus lines and four bus lines in operation.
The town council have proposed scrapping the trolleybus system in Mariánské Lázně several times since the late 1990s, claiming high network maintenance costs. Mariánské Lázně is one of the smallest towns in the world to operate a trolleybus system.
The town is known for the Royal Golf Club Mariánské Lázně.
Mineral springs and colonnades
The top attraction of the town is its 100 mineral springs (53 of them are tapped) with high carbon dioxide content and often also higher iron content, both in the town itself (40 springs) and its surroundings. The water in the springs has an average temperature of 7-10 °C, and is formed through interactions with the deep fault lines that run under the region. The mineral water is claimed to cure disorders of the kidneys and of the urinary tract, respiratory disorders, locomotive system disorders, metabolic disorders, oncological disorders and gynaecological disorders, including the treatment of sterility.
Many of the springs have pavilions and colonnades built around them. Among them are:
- Křížový pramen (Cross Spring) – a monumental pavilion with a cupola bearing a patriarchal cross and 72 Ionic columns was built over the spring in 1818–1826. Today's concrete building is a copy from 1911–1912, originally it was a light wooden and brick construction. The water from the spring is highly mineralized with a strong laxative effect, and has been used for both curative drinks and baths.
- Rudolfův pramen (Rudolph's Spring) – with a wooden pavilion built over the spring, some water is tapped and piped to the nearby colonnade and some is bottled. Its water is weakly mineralized with high calcium content and has been used to cure urinary problems.
- Karolinin pramen (Caroline's Spring) – named after the wife of the Emperor Francis I, Caroline Augusta. The nearby colonnade was built in 1869, the pavilion is a reconstruction from 1989. The water is weakly mineralized, with higher magnesium content.
- Ferdinandův pramen (Ferdinand's Spring) – the water from the spring, similar in composition to Křížový pramen, is bottled under the Excelsior label.
- Ambrožovy prameny (Ambrose's Springs)
- Lesní pramen (Forest Spring)
- Zpívající fontána (Singing Fountain)
The total yield of all of the springs is roughly 600 liters per minute.
Because of the diverse number of visitors the town is able to maintain churches of several denominations. These include the Anglican Church designed by the notable Victorian architect William Burges and founded by Lady Anna Scott in memory of her husband who died in Mariánské Lázně in 1867. The church was constructed in 1879, shortly before Burges's own death. It is no longer in use as a place of worship and is now a concert hall.
- Maurice Loewy (1833–1907), astronomer
- Werner Stark (1909–1985), sociologist and economist
- Eduard Petiška (1924–1987), poet and author
- Peter Hofmann (1944–2010), German tenor
- Alex Čejka (born 1970), golfer
- Jakub Flek (born 1992), ice hockey player
- Edward VII, British King; took annual holidays here
- Franz Joseph I, Austrian Emperor
- Nicholas II, Russian Emperor
- Frederick Augustus III, King of Saxony
- Winston Churchill, British Prime Minister
- George S. Patton, General of the United States Army
- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, German writer and statesman
- Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk, president of Czechoslovakia
- Edvard Beneš, president of Czechoslovakia
- Frédéric Chopin, Polish composer
- Alfred Nobel, Swedish innovator
- Richard Wagner, German composer
- Friedrich Nietzsche, German philosopher
- Mark Twain, American author
- Thomas Edison, American inventor
- Emmy Destinn, operatic soprano
Twin towns – sister cities
- Bad Homburg vor der Höhe, Germany (1990)
- Chianciano Terme, Italy (2000)
- Kiryat Motzkin, Israel (2016)
- Malvern, England, United Kingdom (2013)
- Marcoussis, France (2005)
- Weiden in der Oberpfalz, Germany (2007)
- "Population of Municipalities – 1 January 2022". Czech Statistical Office. 29 April 2022.
- Landwehr, Andreas (24 July 2021). "'Great Spas of Europe' awarded UNESCO World Heritage status". Deutsche Presse-Agentur. Retrieved 25 July 2021.
- "The Great Spa Towns of Europe". UNESCO World Heritage Centre. Retrieved 25 July 2021.
- Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 17 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 714. .
- Leitner, Dovid. "The spa resort where European rebbes spent their summer vacations". The Forward. Retrieved 7 January 2021.
- "Historický lexikon obcí České republiky 1869–2011 – Okres Cheb" (in Czech). Czech Statistical Office. 21 December 2015. pp. 7–8.
- "Population Census 2021: Population by sex". Public Database. Czech Statistical Office. 27 March 2021.
- Design, ADENT Web. "Městská doprava Mariánské lázně s.r.o." www.mdml.cz. Archived from the original on 29 July 2016. Retrieved 11 February 2017.
- Nomination of the Great Spas of Europe for inclusion on the World Heritage List (Report). United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization. Retrieved 21 August 2021.
- "Springs". Město Mariánské Lázně. Retrieved 21 December 2020.
- "Anglikánský kostel" (in Czech). Město Mariánské Lázně. Retrieved 21 December 2020.
- Smith, Craig S. (3 July 2007). "This Year at Marienbad, They're Still Taking the Waters". The New York Times. MARIANSKE LAZNE. Retrieved 17 March 2012.
- "Edward VII. a František Josef I. se opět setkali v Mariánských Lázních" (in Czech). Novinky.cz. 30 July 2014. Retrieved 30 May 2022.
- "Partnerská města" (in Czech). Město Mariánské Lázně. Retrieved 23 March 2022.
- Zpravodaj města Mariánské Lázně 01/2017 (in Czech), Město Mariánské Lázně, January 2017, p. 1
- Norddeutscher Lloyd (1896), "Marienbad", Guide through Germany, Austria-Hungary, Italy, Switzerland, France, Belgium, Holland and England, Berlin: J. Reichmann & Cantor, OCLC 8395555, OL 24839718M
- "Marienbad", Austria-Hungary, Leipzig: K. Baedeker, 1911, OL 18759934M
- Zadoff, Mirjam (2012). Next Year in Marienbad: The Lost Worlds of Jewish Spa Culture. University of Pennsylvania Press. ISBN 978-0-8122-0755-2.
- Official website
- Tourist information
- Mariánské Lázně travel guide
- Hamelika.cz – History of Mariánské Lázně (in Czech)
- Marienbad.com – Accommodation, sights and trips