Spas in the Czech Republic

A brief look at the history of spas

There are a number of mineral springs on the Czech territory, which have been used for medicinal purposes since the early 15th century. Czech spa towns are invariably located in picturesque natural landscapes and are attractive for both their urbanistic layout and their specific spa architecture. Some spa houses even boast elaborate original furnishings.

A brief look at the history of spas:

Their development at the end of the 18th century coincides with major strides in science, technology and social communication.

Large spa houses were being built along with colonnades and decorative structures above and around the springs. The spa towns began to adopt a systematic approach to their architectural planning and strive for a unified appearance. Much attention was devoted to the mineral springs themselves, with geological probes and chemical analyses of the waters’ contents performed; this was a very dynamic era. Tough competition became the hallmark of the spa industry, while the local spa entrepreneurs thrived.

Czech spas were frequented by a highly sophisticated clientele. To this day, the spa towns of Karlovy Vary and Teplice pride themselves on the visits by Czar Peter the Great, King Edward VII of England, or Albrecht of Wallenstein, a famous general and politician. Frequent spa guests were also such giants of European culture as Goethe, Schiller, Chopin, Beethoven, and Wagner. And, lest we should forget, a large number of visitors consisted of prominent aristocrats, industrialists, businessmen and bankers...

The 18th century was the period of birth and development of the spa industry; but it was the 19th century in which the spas truly flourished. The spa complexes were expanded and modernized; a number of new treatment methods were introduced. Spa procedures became specialized, and the Czech spa industry gained renown for its medical efficiency. Spa stays were no longer considered just a form of treatment – they became a hallmark of social status. Spa towns have developed into centers of social and cultural life and magnets for tourism. After Prague, they were the second most visited destination in the country.

The last decade of the past century opened up new horizons to Czech spas. Lifestyle changes dictated the expansion of spa programs to include new forms of relaxation and regeneration, beauty stays and stress-reducing programs. These are all perfectly complemented by a range of sports and fitness activities such as golf, cycling, hiking and walking, tennis, gym routines and other activities. Expanded spa programs are offered by no fewer than 40 spa towns in the Czech Republic.

The original version of this article appears on the official Czech Tourism website.

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