Marienbad: Discover the Magical Power of Springs in the Heart of Europe
Marienbad (Mariánské lázně) is the pearl of European spa towns and since 2021 it has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This beautiful piece of western Bohemia attracts many visitors from all over the world looking for a peaceful and elegant spa town with a rich history and beautiful nature.
The history of Marienbad dates back to the 19th century, when it became one of the most important spa towns in Europe. It was a popular place for the aristocracy and the upper classes, who came here for long months to rest and heal. In addition to the beautiful nature surrounding the town, they were attracted here especially by the famous healing mineral water.
Nowadays, Marienbad has become a place of interest not only for visitors looking for relaxation and treatment of their health, but also for travellers who want to immerse themselves in the rich history and cultural heritage of this picturesque town, which is one of the most important spa towns not only in the Czech Republic, but also in the world. This town offers visitors many opportunities for relaxation and regeneration, whether it be spa treatments, sauna sessions or walks in the surrounding area with its beautiful views.
But Marienbad offers much more than just spa services. The town is full of historic buildings, parks and gardens where you can experience the romantic atmosphere of the 19th century.
Marienbad is also rich in cultural events, concerts and festivals that take place throughout the year. The crown jewel of all is the International Chopin Festival, which attracts the biggest fans of Chopin's music every August and is considered the largest and most important festival of its kind in Europe.
Fryderyk Chopin, the eminent composer and piano virtuoso, came to Marienbad with a great goal - to win the hand of his love, Marie Wodzinska. Although he spent more than a month there, his romantic plan failed due to parental disapproval.
Another famous visitor to Marienbad was the German writer and poet Johann Wolfgang Goethe, who came here regularly from 1820 until his death. Goethe fell in love with the spa city, he was fascinated by the development of the town at the time and participated fully in the social life here. However, the stay was not without its difficulties, as the 72-year-old Goethe fell in love with the beautiful Ulrika von Levetzow. Unfortunately, the marriage proposal ended in failure. As you can see, the charm of the spa town attracts even the world's greatest people.
Among the famous visitors is the British King Edward VII, who has visited Marienbad nine times. His visits to this spa city were full of fun, hunting, beautiful women and, of course, good food and drink. However, the King did not only enjoy himself, but also negotiated with other important politicians such as Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria and French Prime Minister Clemenceau. King Edward VII even declared that nowhere in the world did he find himself more impressed by the poetry of the beautiful countryside than here. In 1905, he even inaugurated a golf course in Marienbad , which is currently the oldest golf course in the Czech Republic.
Marienbad is famous for its mineral springs, which are used for therapeutic purposes. The basis for treatment in Marienbad is drinking mineral waters, bathing in mineral baths and inhaling mineral vapours. Water from local springs contains a number of minerals such as magnesium, calcium, potassium, iron, sodium, sulphur, fluorine and other elements that have a positive effect on human health.
Ferdinand's Spring (Ferdinandův pramen) is the most important spring in Marienbad. The spring is located in a park not far from the town centre and the water from this spring is used in the treatment of digestive problems, rheumatic diseases and also as a prevention of kidney stones.
Karolina's spring (Karolinin pramen) is located in the park opposite the Marienbad Spa Museum. The water from this spring contains magnesium, which helps with muscle fatigue and joint pain.
The Cross Spring (Křížový pramen) is located not far from the Main Colonnade and the Singing Fountain. The water from this spring contains many minerals, including calcium, magnesium, iron and potassium, and is used to treat diseases of the bloodstream and digestive system.
The forest spring (Lesní pramen) is located near the Marienbad Golf Club and the water from this spring has beneficial effects on the respiratory system and is therefore used in the treatment of asthma, bronchitis and other respiratory diseases.
Rudolf's Spring (Rudolfův pramen) is located in the spa part of the town and the water from this spring is one of the most delicious springs of Marienbad. It contains many minerals including magnesium, sodium, potassium and iron and is used in the treatment of urinary tract diseases.
Maria's Spring (Mariin pramen) is unique because of its natural CO2 content, which helps blood circulation throughout the body. The spring is not intended for drinking, but is used for inhalation and bathing.
Where to stay in Marianske Lazne:
The history of hotels dates back to the 19th and 20th centuries, when Marienbad became a popular spa destination. These hotels have hosted many important personalities, such as Empress Elisabeth of Bavaria, Queen Victoria, composer Johann Strauss, King Alfonso XIII of Spain, German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck, King George V and many others.
Hotel Nové Lázně - this hotel was built in 1828 as the first spa house in Marienbad. In 1896 it was rebuilt and extended with another wing. The hotel boasts a history of hosting important personalities such as Empress Elisabeth of Bavaria known as Sissi, Queen Victoria or composer Johann Strauss.
Esplanade Spa and Golf Resort - This luxury hotel was built in 1911 as the Grandhotel Royal and was one of the largest and most modern hotels at the time. It served as a military hospital during World War I, but later became a spa hotel again. In 2006 it was completely renovated and renamed the Esplanade Spa and Golf Resort.
Hotel Cristal Palace - Built in 1898, this hotel offers guests luxurious accommodation in a historic setting. Throughout its history, it has hosted many distinguished personalities, such as King Alfonso XIII of Spain and German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck.
Hotel Continental - This hotel was built in 1905 and is known for its Art Nouveau architectural style. Throughout its history, it has hosted many important personalities such as King George V and Winston Churchill. It was completely renovated in 2005 and offers its guests modern comforts.
Grandhotel Pacifik - this hotel was built in 1928 and is located in the centre of Marienbad. Throughout its history, it has hosted many famous personalities, such as Marlene Dietrich and Louis Armstrong. It was completely renovated in 2004 and offers its guests modern accommodation in a historic setting.
Hotel Sun Palace Spa & Wellness - this hotel is located in the centre of Marienbad, right by the Cross Spring and offers its guests modern accommodation and a wide range of wellness services including a Finnish sauna, Turkish bath, infrared cabin and relaxation room. Guests can book various massages and beauty treatments, including Thai massage, reflexology and aromatherapy. Guests can sample traditional Czech dishes and international cuisine at the hotel's restaurant, and enjoy a selection of fine wines. The Sun Palace Spa & Wellness Hotel is the ideal choice for guests looking for modern and comfortable accommodation in the centre of Marianske Lazne and want to enjoy a relaxing wellness stay.
What to visit in Marienbad?
One of the biggest attractions of Marienbad is the Singing Fountain, which was built as part of the reconstruction of the promenade area of the Maxim Gorky complex between 1982 and 1986. The architect of the design was Pavel Mikšík and the first musical composition called "Music for the Fountain" was created for this purpose by the Czech composer Petr Hapka. Every odd hour the Fountain plays compositions from the works of W. A. Mozart, B. Smetana, A. Dvořák, F. Chopin, J. S. Bach and others until 10 pm. The projections with color lighting and compositions rotate on a schedule.
Marienbad is known as one of the most beautiful spa towns in the Czech Republic. Its spa life revolves around the colonnades, which are important spa sites. The largest of these is the Main Colonnade with its unique cast iron construction, located in close proximity to the Cross and Caroline Springs. These springs are considered healing for their mineral composition and are among the most important in Marienbad. Another magnificent structure is the Ferdinand Spring Colonnade, which dominates the park in the lower part of the town and whose architecture resembles an ancient temple. Ferdinand's Spring, which is located here, is considered the best spring for a drinking cure. Overall, the colonnades and springs in Marienbad are important tourist attractions that draw visitors from all over the world.
Fryderyk Chopin Memorial
This is located in the house where the famous composer stayed during his stay in Bohemia. The exhibition in the first part of the memorial presents the life and work of Chopin and the Wodzinski family who took Chopin in during his stay in Marienbad. The second part of the exhibition traces the activities of Fryderyk Chopin and in the music hall you can meet an exhibition of prints and bibliophile prints by leading Czech graphic artists.
Located in the oldest house in the spa centre, it offers a reconstruction of the rooms where Johann Wolfgang Goethe stayed when he was a guest in Marienbad during his travels. The museum's exhibition focuses mainly on the realities of the Marienbad region, with an emphasis on the use of the spa springs.
Dančí obora and Miniaturpark
For nature lovers, the Dančí obora is an unmissable attraction, where you can meet roe and fallow deer in the pleasant surroundings of the adjacent meadow. The Miniaturpark offers perfect replicas of well-known buildings, especially from the Czech Republic, and for lovers of geology, there is a freely accessible exhibition of rocks from the Slavkov Forest.
The Roman Catholic Dean´s Church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary is the largest sacral building in Marienbad and is the dominant feature of the town. It was built in 1844 in Neo-Gothic style and its interior is very impressive. The church has an impressive organ and beautiful stained glass windows, which are a wonderful addition to the tour of this sacral building. The church was consecrated by Abbot Heinl in 1848 and consecrated by Cardinal Archbishop B. of Schwarzenberg in 1850.
The Anglican Christ Church was built in 1880 and is a cute little building in neo-Gothic style with a simple interior. It is mainly used for English services and is becoming a popular place for tourists who want to visit an exotic Anglican church in the middle of Europe.
Unfortunately, Marienbad also experienced one tragic event. During Kristallnacht, which took place on the night of 9-10 November 1938, the local synagogue was burned down. At that time, the town was part of the Sudetenland and Nazi propaganda was aimed at inciting hatred against the Jewish population. Also in Marienbad, the Jewish population was forced to leave the town and the synagogue was burnt down. This event recalls the tragic fate of many Jewish communities in Europe during the Second World War and draws attention to the importance of respecting diversity and tolerance in our society.
Walking through the streets of Marienbad and taking in the scent of flowers, the sweet sound of music and the quiet murmur of fountains, you feel as if you are in another world. Visitors can not only feel like part of history, but also relax in the modern spa centres and enjoy luxurious treatments. It's a place where the past and the future merge and where you can travel back in time without leaving the present. So don't hesitate to take a trip to the past and to rest and relax in Marienbad.