Marianske Lazne. The pearl of West Bohemia.
The most popular Czech spa is Carlsbad, of course. They are older and larger and more popular than other spas. But all these stereotypes work until the moment when you cross the boundaries of Marianske Lazne.
So let us begin our cultural campaign through the youngest resort of the Czech Republic. This beautiful place is situated 50 km from Carlsbad in the historical region of Bohemia. Like all the famous mineral spas Marienbad is also located high enough in the mountains — 630 meters above sea level. Certainly not as high as the city of Borjomi (810 meters), but still high enough.
Marienbad is also often called a «city in a sea of green» or «green pearl of Czech Republic” because of its valley, which stretches along the resort. It is surrounded by wooded peaks; and the whole city is like a wonderful park.
According to our tradition, let’s consider the history of the town Marianske Lazne.
As I told before, Marianske Lazne is quite a young city. He got his coat of arms on the 1st of June in 1866 (the original of this privilege of providing the city of coat of arms is stored in the depository of the city museum).
The symbols on the emblem of the city were: the Virgin Mary as patron of the place, the Cross Spring Pavilion, the serpent of Aesculapius as the symbol of medicine, fir and a fountain. Valley of Marianske resorts is difficult to access because of wetlands and deep forests. In this regard it remained uninhabited for a long time. The oldest written evidence of this place is a testament of Hroznata (1197). Terrible Czech lord Hroznata founded Premonstratensian monastery near his residence Tepl. The monastery became the cultural centre of this area. He possessed the land, which stretched to the border with primeval forests, that is to the territory of modern Mariana resorts.
Now it is difficult to believe that there were impassable bogs before the nineteenth century. Apparently monastic people of Tepl were fed up with the mosquitoes from wetlands, so people decided to exterminate the marshes. Not just to dry up the marshes, but also to build a city on that place. So in the early nineteenth century Abbot of the monastery Karl Kaspar Reitenberger and physician Jan Josef Hep started to implement this plan. That is why they hired experienced specialists.
The main merit of creating a unique image of the beauty of the city belongs to the garden architect Vaclav Skalnik, architect Josef Fischer and civil engineer Turner. Because of these worthy men the former swamp turned into a real paradise.
In 1823 people began to build direct roads from Marianske Lazne to such cities as Plan, Cheb and Karlovy Vary. This building was completed in 1831. Courtier’s carriage on the route Prague-Cheb were ordered to pass through Marianske Lazne. In 1821 there were built two large palaces: the palace Klebersberg on the place of the present square of Goethe and the Klinger palace, which no longer exists. Many houses were built; some of them retained their original form until today. One of them is the house of city museum «The Golden bunch». Formerly it was Goethe’s house. The construction of Marianske Lazne lasted unusually quickly. In 1841 in Marienbad there were 74 houses and 850 residents. In 1845 there have been major changes of the centre of population. Judicial power of Tepl monastery were abolished, so Marienbad passed to the state governance. In 1848 the Catholic church in neo-Byzantine style was finished. In 1857 the evangelical church was built and later an Anglican church. Russian Orthodox church was built in 1902.
That is how city Marianske Lazne — one of the most beautiful cities in the Czech Republic — arised from the marshes and peat bogs.
Next time I’ll tell you about the sights of the city and celebrities, who visited this city.