Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Private guide in PRAGUE and KARLOVY  VARY


I will take you through the picturesque West Bohemian countryside to the city of Karlovy Vary. This world-famous spa has been known for its 12 medicinal mineral springs and you will have the chance to taste them. The well-known of these springs is the "Vřídlo" ("Geyser"), a fountain of therapeutic water that shoots to a height of 12 m. In Karlovy Vary you´ll also find historical and modern colonnades and you can admire locally manufactured Moser glass and Thun porcelain. We recommend tasting the delicious local wafers and traditional "Becherovka" liqueur made from herbs. The city is also known for the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival.

History of the City

In the 14th century Czech King Charles IV was often riding his horse around the Krušné (Ore) Mountains and the Slavkov Forest in Western Bohemia. Thanks to a chance his retinue one time apparently discovered the hot spring, to which the emperor soon attributed its curative power. He convinced himself about it with his own skin. Using the water from the spring he was able to heal his injured leg. According to a legend he ordered to build a town around the miraculous spring, which because of its springs still thrives and enjoys the fame far beyond the borders of our country.

The town was founded in the second half of the 14th century under the direction of King Charles IV. The development of spa gave rise to the new social and special-purpose buildings. The first public spa house (The Mill Spa) was built early in the 18thcentury, along with the Baroque church of St. Mary Magdalene. A further, particularly Art Nouveau development followed in the 2nd half of the 19th century, when the Mill Colonnade and Hot Spring Colonnade, the Imperial Spa and the today’s theatre building were built. Some buildings were financed from the sale of spring salt or the spa taxes, other from the contributions by the generous foreign patrons.

The spa fame also grew thanks to visits by famous celebrities

Karlsbad (Karlovy Vary) was increasingly becoming an important venue for gatherings. The spa was visited by the scientific, political and artistic elite of the 19th century, such as Beethoven, Franz Joseph I, Dobrovský, Paganini, Chopin, Mozart, Gogol, Tyl, Barrande, Purkyně, Freud and many others. Nearly every important celebrity has something dedicated to it. Either it was a monument that was built, or it was the name of the forest trail. But Karlovy Vary is also popular among the contemporary VIPs. The stars as Jude Law, Antonio Banderas, John Malkovich, Robert De Niro, Renee Zellweger and others show up there regularly.

The Colonnades of Karlovy Vary

Each of Karlovy Vary’s five colonnades has a unique character flaunting various architectural styles and an intriguing history. In a sense, these promenade halls have come to symbolize this city, famous for its curative hot springs 

Mill Colonnade

Perhaps the most popular hall is the Mill Colonnade, the largest of the five structures, measuring 132 meters long by 13 meters wide and featuring 124 Corinthian columns perched on its roof. It harkens back to the late 18th century, when it was just a wooden building. Then, in 1811, the simple structure was transformed into an Empire style edifice called the New Spring Colonnade. Now the Mill Colonnade, a New-Renaissance style hall, stands on this site with its nave and two aisles. It was constructed by well-renowned Czech architect Josef Zitek from 1871 to 1881. Zitek is famous for his designs of Prague’s National Theatre and Rudolfinum. About 10 years after the construction was completed, an extension was built, leading to the Rock Spring. In addition to the majestic columns, the colonnades elaborate, spellbinding decoration includes 12 allegorical statues, each standing for a month of the year, situated above the portico, and stone reliefs depicting historic events in the town’s history decorating the orchestra pit.

Park Colonnade

This wrought-iron architectural gem is all that remains of the Blanensky Pavilion where a concert and restaurant hall used to be located. The Blanensky Pavilion was designed by Viennese architects Ferdinand Fellner and Hermann Helmer during 1880-81. Better known for their theatre creations, Fellner and Helmer designed structures throughout the town, including the luxurious Grandhotel Pupp. Set in romantic Dvorak Park near the Army Spa Institution, the Park Colonnade was reconstructed in 2001 and 2002, when it obtained the Snake Spring. The Park Spring dates back to the middle of the 19th century.

The Hot Spring Colonnade

Housing the biggest and hottest spring, this colonnade has taken on many guises. It was built as Baroque during the late 18th century and then was rebuilt in Empire style to the design of Josef Esch in 1826. During 1878 and 1879 Fellner and Helmer did their magic and turned it into a pseudo-Renaissance structure. It became dilapidated in the 20th century, and the Nazis took it apart during 1939 to use the copper on its roof for making armaments. It was changed into a wooden promenade hall until 1975, when Jaroslav Votruba give it a functionalist facelift. The Hot Spring Colonnade is made of glass and reinforced concrete. The Hot Spring (Vridlo), located in a separate pavilion, belches out 2,000 liters of mineral water per minute, rising to an impressive height of 12 meters. A glass prism-shaped dome covers this spring, the only one used for bathing and drinking. There are five more seeps as well.

The Market Colonnade

The white elegance of the Market Colonnade is the 1883 exquisite work of Fellner and Helmer. It started off as a wooden Swiss-style structure. Now it still has a Swiss appearance with delicate lace motifs on its façade, giving it a light and airy look. It is also notable for its gabled roof, majestic columned arcade decorated with wood carvings and its relief depicting the legend of the founding of the town. The Market Spring goes back to 1838 while the spring named after Emperor Charles IV is said to be the one that persuaded the Czech ruler to create the spa.

Other Places to Visit in Karlovy Vary:

Becherovka and Jan Becher Museum

To enjoy Karlovy Vary with all your senses, you must not miss the tasting of the traditional herbal liqueur Becherovka, which is produced only here.

About Becherovka

Becherovka was produced the first time in 1807 in a drugstore owned by the chemist Josef Becher. Initially he was selling in bottles as the stomach medication drops. As the drink gained in popularity, the size of bottles in which the liqueur was supplied under the original name the “Karlsbader Bitter” started to be bigger. Becherovka started to be bottled in the typical flat bottles approximately seventy years after the creation of the formula. The Czech name “Becherovka” has been used since the foundation of Czechoslovakia in 1918. the stomach medication drops. As the drink gained in popularity, the size of bottles in which the liqueur was supplied under the original name the “Karlsbader Bitter” started to be bigger. Becherovka started to be bottled in the typical flat bottles approximately seventy years after the creation of the formula. The Czech name “Becherovka” has been used since the foundation of Czechoslovakia in 1918.
The manufacture of this liquor has been shrouded in mystery for 200 years. The exact ratio of ingredients was passed as afamily secret from father to son. These days the recipe for Becherovka is known only by two people who are preparing a mixture of spices and herbs once a week. The specific taste is also influenced by two weeks of aging in oak barrels and reportedly also by the environment of Karlovy Vary.
You can taste Becherovka practically in every Karlovy Vary pub, restaurant or bar. It is served either chilled in a liquor glass, or in the mixed drinks, of which the most popular is “Beton” (Becherovka and tonic).

Jan Becher Museum

Becherovka is an essential part of Karlovy Vary. Therefore you also find its museum here. The exhibition is located in the historic building where the liquor was manufactured for 150 years. During the tour of the museum you will see a short film about Becherovka, the original cellars where the Becherovka was aged, a variety of historical items associated with the liquor (original labels, bottles and imitations ...) and other attractions. The museum also has a shop and bar where you will be served the Becherovka that is well chilled.

Official website :

The Moser Museum and the Moser glassworks

Moser is the brand name of the highest quality glass products known throughout the world. A unique insight into the history and present times of this glass factory is provided by the new Moser visitor centre.

Glass Museum

The glass museum exhibition in the newly designed modern interior offers a captivating tour tracking more than 150 years of this glass factory history, it introduces the famous owners of the luxury Moser glass and introduces the oldest glass creations up to the current collection with more than 2,000 exhibited pieces. The exhibition is accompanied by 7 documentaries in 6 languages.


We definitely recommend that you participate in the tour of glassworks. During the tour you will see the molten glass turning into unique products. Learn about the production of glass and watch the interesting work of master glassblowers. After the tour you can buy the finished products in the Moser factory shop.

Official website :

Visit Prague and Karlovy Vary with private 

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