Europe’s Open-air Salon
Karlovy Vary is the largest spa in Europe and principal Bohemian spa. Known as ‘the largest open-air salon of Europe’, it hosted royal families, European heads-of-state, high aristocracy and prominent artists. It is distinguished by a geyser-like spring phenomenon and unique composition of thermal water, innovative methods in balneology, and a prolific and outstanding architectural spa ensemble. The spa quarter follows the numerous hot springs that issue in the deeply incised Teplá (= Warm) River valley and displays rich Historicist and Art Nouveau styles from the town’s internationallyoriented Golden Era of the second half of the nineteenth century. An enveloping spa landscape is characterised by terraced valley sides, extravagant villas, promenades and pathways, and solitary lookout buildings. Historic spa buildings continue in use for balneological treatments and nowhere today is the ‘drinking cure’ more evident than in the beautiful colonnades where thousands of daily visitors may be seen with traditionally-shaped porcelain spa cups.