Karlovy Vary is famous not only for its unique spa treatment but also for its unique spa buildings. The main spa promenade lined with beautiful colonnades, spa houses, hotels and other important buildings certainly deserves your admiration. The most admired sights in Karlovy Vary are its spa colonnades. Since the early years of the spa town, colonnades provided protection from sun, rain and snow to spa guests. Beneath their roofs you will find all the beneficial mineral springs, necessary for healing. In Karlovy Vary are 5 colonnades and each one is unique in its own way.
Today's pseudo-Renaissance stone colonnade was built between 1871 and 1881 according to the project of the outstanding Czech architect Josef Zítek. Between 1891 and 1892, an extension of the Colonnade was built, the northern pavilion above the Rock Spring. Five mineral springs are in the interior of this colonnade, the largest in Karlovy Vary. The colonnades’ attic is complemented by twelve allegorical sandstone sculptures representing the individual months of the year.
The decorated cast-iron colonnade was originally part of a two-arm covered promenade porch in today's Dvorak gardens. The Karlovy Vary constructor Josef Waldert built the concert and restaurant hall between 1880 and 1881. In 1965, however, part of the colonnade was demolished and only the eastern wing, the promenade part was preserved from the whole building. A total reconstruction of the colonnade took place in the years 2000 - 2002, while a new spring, the Snake Spring was implemented.
According to the legend the Emperor Charles IV has been treating his diseased limbs at the location of the local Charles IV spring. A simple pillar gazebo and a short promenade hall originally protected the springs. The Swiss-style wooden colonnade was built on the site of the Karlovy Vary Old Town Hall between 1882 and 1883, according to the design of the famous Viennese architects Ferdinand Fellner and Hermann Helmer. In the years 1904-1905 the colonnade was extended over the Market Spring, according to the proposal of the director of the town building office Franz Drobny.
The Art Nouveau colonnade was built according to the design of the famous Viennese architect Johann Friedrich Ohmann between 1910 and 1912. The colonnade consists of three separate units; the Colonnade of the Lower Castle Spring, the sun spa and the Colonnade of the Upper Castle Spring. It was supposed to connect the space above the Castle Spring with the Market Colonnade and create a single promenade unit. In the years 2000 - 2001, the dilapidated building of the Castle Colonnade was reconstructed into a complex treatment facility called Castle Spa, according to the project of the architect Alexander Mikoláš.
Hot Spring Colonnade
Originally only light canopies and pavilions protected the Hot Spring, which could be easily recovered after repetitive explosions and surprising breakouts of the spring. The first unified architectural design of the space around the Hot Spring came in 1826, when the first Empire Spring Colonnade was built. In 1878-1879, a new cast-iron Spring Colonnade was built in its pseudo-Renaissance style according to the design of the Viennese architects Ferdinand Fellner and Hermann Helmer. However, in 1939, the colonnade was dismantled due to corrosion, and for the next 27 years it was replaced by a wooden provisory. A new modern glass reinforced concrete colonnade was built according to the project of Ing. arch. Jaroslav Otruby and opened above the Hot Spring in a functionalist style in 1975.
Historic Monuments of Karlovy Vary
Karlovy Vary is the most sought after and the most visited spa town in the Czech Republic. The contemporary look of the city was created especially in the late 19th century, in the style of historicism and Art Nouveau. The entire spa center can be superbly called a show of architectural jewels. In Karlovy Vary you will find hundreds of different historical buildings and spa houses from the past. Let's take a look at some of them:
A national cultural monument, an exceptional building, the Emperor Spa, is located opposite the Carlsbad Plaza. This historic spa building was built between 1893 and 1895 according to the design of the famous Viennese architects Ferdinand Fellner and Herman Helmer. The Emperor Spa used to be the most modern spa in the whole Austro-Hungarian Empire at that time. The decorative architecture of the building imitates the French Renaissance, combining Renaissance and Baroque building elements with Art Nouveau decorative motifs. The interiors of the spa building contained all the latest state-of-the-art conveniences and unusual comfort. Part of the building was the so-called Zander's Hall with mechanical training tools for Swedish therapeutic gymnastics according to the method of Dr. Zander. A peat gazebo for peat preparation for bathing was connected to the spa building by an underground corridor. In recent years, the spa building, which has been declared a National Cultural Monument, is undergoing a gradual renewal.
The Castle Spring first appeared in 1769 under the Castle Tower in the historical center of Karlovy Vary. The first gazebo was built above the Castle Spring in 1797. In 1830, the arbor over the Castle Spring was completed with a new wooden colonnade designed by the architect Josef Esch. A new Art Nouveau colonnade was built here by the Karlovy Vary constructor Friedrich Seitz, designed by the famous Viennese architect Johann Friedrich Ohmann between 1910 and 1912. The Colonnade consists of three separate units; the Colonnade of the Lower Castle Spring, the sun spa and the Colonnade of the Upper Castle Spring. It was supposed to connect the space above the Castle Spring with the Market Colonnade and create a single promenade unit. In the years 2000 - 2001, the dilapidated building of the Castle Colonnade was reconstructed into a complex treatment facility called Castle Spa according to the project of the architect Alexander Mikoláš.
St. Mary Magdalene Cathedral
Originally a medieval Gothic church, the St. Mary Magdalene church was built in the second half of the 14th century on a hill above the Hot Spring in the center of Karlovy Vary. At the beginning of the 18th century it was in a very bad condition after several fires. It was therefore decided to demolish the church and build a new church. This Baroque Cathedral of St. Mary Magdalene was built between 1733 and 1736 according to the plans of the prominent Czech architect Kilián Ignác Dientzenhofer. In 2010, this magnificent sanctuary was declared the National Cultural Monument of the Czech Republic.
The Orthodox Church of St. Peter and Paul
The architect Gustav Widemann built the Byzantine Orthodox Church of St. Peter and Paul between 1893 and 1898. The model for the building was the Byzantine-Old-Russian cathedral in Ostankin near Moscow. The richly decorated Orthodox Church on a Greek cross shaped foundation is completed with five gilded cupolas. The walls of the church are complemented by rich ornamental sculptural and figural painting decorations. The interior of the church is dominated by a rich majolica wooden iconostasis with oil icons of saints by the painter Tjurin.
Anglican Church of St. Lucas
The Karlovy Vary architect Josef Slowak built the Anglican pseudo-gothic church of St. Lucas in 1876-1877. The foundation stone of the building was laid in 1876. The ceremonial consecration of the new church was then held on June 24, 1877. The construction is based on the romantic concept of English pseudo-Gothicism, using unmodified bare masonry, which gives the building an exotic touch. The two-nave church on the top of the Latin cross with its massive supporting pillars is crowned with a distinctive, bare-cut wooden prismatic tower with a gallery above the dome, above the crossing of the ship. The Museum of Wax Figures is currently in the church.
Karlovy Vary Municipal Theater
Although the first preserved references to the existence of theater life in Karlovy Vary date to the beginning of the 18th century, the construction of the magnificent building of this theater begun in 1884, just a month after the demolition of the old theater, which was located in the place of the present building. The project itself was entrusted to Ferdinand Fellner and Hermann Helmer, and the entire building was built in just 20 months. The magnificent artistic gem in the form of a hand-painted curtain with the theme of the celebration of poetry, frescoes over the proscenium and paintings on the ceiling vault, are by the reputable Viennese creators, brothers Gustav and Ernest Klimt and Franz Matsch.