History of Marianske Lazne
Today’s visitors of Marianske Lazne admire its beautiful parks and magnificent spa houses. It is hard to imagine that not long ago there were deep forest, moors and steep ravins at the same place.
Marianske Lazne is the youngest of the top Czech spas. The spa was founded only at the beginning of the 19th century. All the more rapid and thrilling development the city had. Within 100 years Marianske Lazne belonged to the best-known spas in the world and hosted famous artists, celebrities and members of royal families.
The healing mineral springs rising in the wooded valley were known by the local people for a long time. Nevertheless because of the inaccessibility of the place, the springs had not been systematically exploited.
The change came at the end of the 18th century. At that time Josef Jan Nehr, the doctor of the Tepla Monastery, began to study the properties of the mineral springs and very soon found their beneficial influence on the human health. At 1808 Josef Jan Nehr had the first spa house built. The place received the name Marianske Lazne.
The key figure in the further developement of Marianske Lazne was Karel Kaspar Reitenberger, the abbot of the Tepla Monastery. The enterprising abbot invested massively in the spa infrastructure, very often against the will of the other members of the order. He managed to gain the services of the genial landscape architect Vaclav Skalnik. Vaclav Skalnik had the ravins filled up and the moors drained. Than he founded the gorgeous parks which have been preserved to the present day.
Golden Age of the Spa
During the 19th century Marianske Lazne gained more and more importance. In 1872 the city was connected to the international railway line which led to a rapid increase in the number of spa guests.
Thanks to the visionary leaders, like was the mayor Dr. August Herzig, Marianske Lazne grew without losing its genuis loci.
The beginning of the 20th century is the golden age of Marianske Lazne. The name of the city was known in the whole Western world. In the spa season one could meet famous noblemen, artists and businessmen. Marianske Lazne was the favourite spa of the British King Edward VII. He visited the city nine times in total. In 1904 Edward VII. met here with the Austrian Emperor Franz Josef I. Marianske Lazne became an important politacal, social and cultural centre of Europe.
World War I and the inter-war years
The battles of the World War I. stayed away from Marianske Lazne. However, the number of guests dropped sharply as a logical consequence of the tragic situation in Europe. The after-war years were very difficult but from the mid 1920′s the spa began to regain its fame.
World War II
Marianske Lazne survived the Second World War without any significant damages – the city served as a hospital an there were no strategically important points. Unlike the most of the Czech Republic, Marianske Lazne was liberated by the US Army under the command of general Patton. It is said that the army officers would spent a lot of time at the local golf course.
The era of communism
After the war the local population changed dramatically. The Germans, who had had the majority, were displaced. Their place were taken by Czechs from all over the country.
The spa facilities were nationalized and centrally managed. Marianske Lazne was to have mainly the curative function.
In 1952 the Balneological Research Institute was established. The institute conducted research in the field of balneology and employed many top specialists. The institute contributed to the high level of spa treatment in the Czech Republic.
The intensive use of spa facilities and lack of investments caused gradual deterioration of the buildings. Fortunately, most of the center was spared from insensible construction.
After the 1989
With the fall of communism and international isolation Marianske Lazne once again welcomed the foreign visitors. The spa center has been repaired, new hotels and tourist facilities have been constructed.
Step by step Marianske Lazne returns to where it belongs. Together with Karlovy Vary and Frantiskovy Lazne forms the Westbohemian Spa Triangle, one of the most attractive regions in the Czech Republic.