The spa towns of Karlovy Vary, Mariánské Lázně and Františkovy Lázně become UNESCO World Heritage Sites

The spa towns of Karlovy Vary, Mariánské Lázně and Františkovy Lázně become UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Eleven spa towns, seven European countries and a joint effort to get inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List: that is the international project Great Spas of Europe.

HomeThe spa towns of Karlovy Vary, Mariánské Lázně and Františkovy Lázně become UNESCO World Heritage Sites
Eleven spa towns in Europe, including Karlovy Vary, Mariánské Lázně and Františkovy Lázně, have been awarded the title of UNESCO World Heritage Site. This was decided by the intergovernmental World Heritage Committee at its 44th session in Fuzhou, China. Due to the global pandemic, the meeting took place on-line from 16 to 31 July.

Famous spas of Europe

The application for inscription of the famous spa towns of Europe to the UNESCO World Heritage List was prepared jointly by seven countries, and the Czech Republic sponsored and coordinated the project. This international project is exceptional proof of the phenomenon of European spas, which flourished mainly from the 18th to the beginning of the 20th century. At that time, spas brought forth not only innovative ideas in the field of balneology and medicine, but also highlighted the spa towns themselves. People from all over the world met there, and the spa was of great importance for the democratisation of European society. Their exceptional architecture with colonnades and promenades, villas, parks, and gardens, as well as hundreds of mineral springs also played a role. Stories of leading figures and celebrities, the beginnings of travel as a new means of spending free time, cultural heritage, and a philosophical essence: all this unites the eleven most beautiful spa towns of Europe.

In addition to the West Czechia spa triangle, eight other spa towns have been inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List—Baden-Baden, Bad Ems and Bad Kissingen in Germany, Spa in Belgium, Vichy in France, Montecatini Terme in Italy, Baden near Vienna in Austria and City of Bath in England. All 11 spa towns together represent one item on the World Heritage List. The number of monuments that the Czech Republic has on the UNESCO List has thus increased to 15.

 

The Czech spa triangle: Karlovy Vary, Mariánské Lázně and Františkovy Lázně

The largest spa town in the Czech Republic is Karlovy Vary (Czech Charles’ Spa), boasting natural thermal springs, the deep valley of the Teplá River, rock cliffs and wooded hills. The name reminds us that, according to legend, it was founded in the 14th century by king and emperor Charles IV. Today's Karlovy Vary is a cosmopolitan, stylish city with a unique atmosphere, only here can you see a geyser of hot mineral water, called Vřídlo, gushing up to a height of 12 metres.

Like Karlovy Vary, Mariánské Lázně has been and continues to be a popular destination for European monarchs, nobles, statesmen and politicians, famous writers, composers and scientists. The city full of beautiful parks is a perfect example of a model spa town: its architecture had not been disturbed by later construction development, so you get the feeling you have gone back in time to the Classicist period of the early 19th century. The centre of spa life is the Neo-Baroque Art Nouveau cast-iron colonnade with rich decorative ornamentation and several springs. At its forefront stands a singing fountain, where spectacular lighting effects accompany the music every evening.

The Czech spa triangle wouldn’t be complete without Františkovy Lázně, founded in 1793 in honour of the future Austrian Emperor, Francis I. In this picturesque town with a checkerboard floor plan and several Classicist and Empire-style buildings, reach out and touch the statue of a boy holding a fish for good luck and enjoy your stay in the Aquaforum Water Park.