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Baths and Bastilles

Czech Republic, Praha
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Where the nouvelle riche of Russia go on holiday- Baths in Bohemia
Goethe composed poems during his stay in Karlsbad around July 1806 of which several contain references to the healing waters and clays of the mineral springs. He did more for Bohemian bathing culture than anybody else and he probably owed his Faust-like creativity and libido to his stay here, having drunk the waters then as we do today, from a small spouted cup decorated with roses.
GALLERY

Lázn? Kynžvart


Next to the ruins of the old castle of Burg Königswart this little spa town of c.1600 people has a wonderful baroque castle with an exquisite restaurant on the castle grounds. The spa buildings are built in a classical Viennese style and are best known for their treatment of people with breathing difficulties and skin problems.


Mariánské Lázn?



“One tries to make a better person of you by taking away all the pleasant things to which you are used”, mark Twain joked during his visit to the town in 1891. He described Marienbad (today c 14000 residents) as the most modern town on the continent and as pretty as you could wish for.


The nostalgic charm of the town was caught on celluloid in Alain Resnais’ film ‘Last Year in Marienbad’. It shows its best side in the main street (Hlavní t?ída) with its mighty Art Nouveau hotels and town villas that line the hill on both sides.


The Karlsbad Marktbrunnenkolonnaden(the famous Russian inspired colonnades in Karlsbad).








There are 40 hot springs in the town, and over 100 further springs in the surrounding area. If the smell of sulfur puts you off you may like to wander along the promenade through the Kurkolonnade (spa colonnade built in 1888-89). The wonderful coffered ceiling and the fantastic Art Nouveau frescos by Jan Vyletal draw your eyes upwards, but don’t miss the singing fountain that provides classical accompaniment to the scene. The Royal Golf Club was one of the first to be opened in continental Europe by King Edward VII in 1905. The history of the region and the story of the world famous Bohemian glass production are told in the Karlovarské museum in Nová Louka 23. If you prefer more contemporary art the Galerie um?ní in Goethova stezka 6 has exhibitions. Jan Becher’s infamous herb liqueur Becherovka is available all over the town, as are waffles, the best of which can be bought still warm at a stall next to the Sprudelkolonnaden. Bohemian glass can be bought at Glasfabrik Moser (Moser glass factory) in Dvory, a suburb of the town where there is also an exhibition. Jarosie 46/19. www.moser-glass.com

Horní Slavkov
The healing waters of Marienbad.


Right in the middle of the royal forest, (Slavkovský les), lies this pretty little porcelain town surrounded by little valleys and gushing streams and tiny villages with timber frame houses and mills. The town houses around 6000 residents, and although after the war several renaissance buildings were torn down, the Georgskirche (The George Church) and the baroque Spitalkirche St Anna are very much worth the trip.

Be
This Article is part of the tour "The Golden Road"
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