Mariánské Lázně is doubtlessly one of the most charming spa places in the Czech Republic. The spa history is not long but for that, all the more interesting. In the place, where in the 18th century it was still dominated by swamps and impenetrable forests, the elegant town, with modern buildings and of large public interest, originated.
Situated next to the German border, in what was once Bohemia, is the beautiful spa resort of Marienbad, perched up on a high wooded valley. This famous resort pays homage to spa culture trough its glorious Edwardian arhotecture, spa buildings and colonnades, making is a ’must see’ on a list of places to see in a lifetime. Mariánské Lázne is home to hundreds of cold, curative springs. The largest and prettiest garden town in the Czech Republic, a jewel of architecture embedded within a ring of beautiful spa parks.
- Karlovy Vary (KLV) 40 km
- Praha (PRG) 160 km
- München (MUC) 260 km
- Nürnberg (NUE) 180 km
- Frankfurt (FRA) 400 km
Read more about Mariánské Lázně
From swamps to the first spas
The place, where Mariánské Lázně lays today, used to be full of swamps and entirely desolated in the old days.
In 1197 the powerful nobleman Hroznata, founded the monastery in Teplá, under whose administration also belonged the land of today’s spa town. Monks were first to note the salted spring in the forests and they even started to exploit salt here. This salt was later successfully sold as a laxative.
The obstruction for using medicinal waters was the operation of tin mines, because the monastery could not freely dispose the land. But the abbot Ebersbach was very interested in the springs and so in 1606 a doctor from Slavkov recommended a drinking cure to the first patient. The first written study on Teplá’s acid waters was elaborated by Bohuslav Balbín in 1679, who described six springs and their effects.
In the meantime, various rumours about the medicinal effects of mineral waters started to go round and the first ill people headed for the springs. Representatives of the monastery had the springs cleaned and made paths leading to them. Monks started to fill barrels with medicinal water and they sent them to other monasteries. But the first attempts to found a spa place failed. Local inhabitants did not trust the spas.
During the rein of Marie Terezie, mineral waters were again analysed and during this period the name Marienbad appeared for the first time.
Origins of Mariánské Lázně
The origins of the spas was put in place by Josef Jan Nehr – a monastery doctor, who convinced an abbot and several monks to try a spa cure in 1779. He found out that small amount of water drunk several times a day adjusted digestion, stimulated their appetite and brought refreshing sleep both to the abbot and to the monks. Doctor Nehr also did a chemical analysis of the springs and he decided to cure ill people.
However the monastery fought to gain all the necessary permissions to build a spa building until 1786. In 1818 Marienbad received the statute of a spa place.
First patients stayed in one small building nearby Mary’s spring, where they took baths. Later the first settlers started to arrive and they built first spa buildings.
The spa received its name, Marienbad, according to Mary’s spring. This spring used to be called "Smelly", due to its poignant smell. It received its present name after a picture of Virgin Mary, which was allegedly put up near the spring by a solder returning from a war, as a thank for healing his injuries.
Teplá monastery’s abbot Karel Kašpar Reitenberger, had the merit for further development of the spas. He started to build spa houses and pavilions at the beginning of the 19th century.
Goethe – a prince of German poets and the Godfather of Mariánské Lázně
In 1820 Johann Wolfgang Goethe visited Mariánské Lázně, thereafter he came twice more. He was thrilled by the local natural conditions and he encouraged the abbot Reitenberger to continue building spa houses.
He also recommended to local doctors to introduce, beside traditional spa care, modern medical methods.
The presence of Goethe in Mariánské Lázně had a very favourable impact on the visitor rate. The spas started to be visited by wealthier clientele.
Famous celebrities also arrived. Let us remember the name such as Fryderyk Chopin, Nikolaj Vasiljevič Gogol, Richard Wagner, Ivan Sergejevič Turgeněv, Gasparo Spontini and Karl Maria von Weber.
The spas lived years of the big boom, but the golden era was yet to come.
The spa for the king
In 1897 the future British ruler Edward VII visited Mariánské Lázně for the first time. Why he decided to visit exactly this spa town it is not known. However, King Edward, acting as the Duke of Lancaster, immediately fell in love with Mariánské Lázně and he visited it nine times altogether.
The British king turned the world’s attention onto Mariánské Lázně, which changed every season to manage to accommodate the ever-growing number of guests. The majority of buildings were rebuilt during this period and extended and new hotels were constantly opened.
Mariánské Lázně also became a site of several political meetings. In 1904 Edward VII met his Austrian counter-part – the emperor Frantz Josef I. During the following years, negotiations between Great Britain and Austria and Bulgaria took place in here.
King Edward VII died in 1910, after that the First World War followed and further development of the spas was stopped.
Czechoslovak Mariánské Lázně
After the First World War and creation of Czechoslovak Republic, guests returned to the spas. The rapid growth of transport attracted more visitors and the spa town has to solve problems with accommodation.
But soon economic crises occurred and further development of the town was again stopped. The Second World War fortunately spared the town and so the spa character of the town remained preserved.
After the post-war displacement of German citizens and after the change of Mariánské Lázně population, the town started to decay. The turn came after 1989, when the town fully returned to the spa industry.
Mariánské Lázně today
Mariánské Lázně during the era of socialism was a decaying town, but during the last 15 years has it improved immensely.
Nowadays the town lives again with spa industry and tourism. Among other economical branches are agriculture, forestry and food-processing industry.
The spa industry is also a domain of education – 1st Faculty of Medicine, Charles University in Prague opened university bachelor studies – branch physiotherapy and balneology in Mariánské Lázně. Doctors of the company Marienbad Kur & Spa Hotels - Léčebné lázně Mariánské Lázně a.s. also take part in teaching and specialised preparation for students.
In addition the local high schools adapt to tourism – besides the Secondary Grammar School, there is a Commercial Academy and Hotel and Catering high school.
Mariánské Lázně is situated directly on the railway and road route Plzeň - Cheb, which enables good connections with the world.
Here is a selection of hotels that we recommend. If you are interested in any of these hotels or you have a specific idea about another hotel of your choice, please fill in our short questionaire, or contact us and we will prepare a non-binding offer for you according to your wishes and requirements.
In case of interest please fill in our short questionaire, or contact us and we will prepare a non-binding offer for you according to your wishes and requirements.