Mariánské Lázně: More than a Resort
Mariánské Lázně is a Czech resort and spa town in the Karlovy Vary region, with a population of about 13,000 people.
The city is known for its healing hot springs, and this is a major attraction for tourists. As a result, there are many hotels that serve this select clientele.
Truthfully, most of the attractions are closely related to the hot springs, but not all visitors gravitate towards this. There are many more activities you can explore, like visiting the magnificent churches that will take your breath away. In this article, we want to walk you through the wonderful city of Mariánské Lázně.
Getting to Mariánské Lázně
Daily trains depart from Prague to Mariánské Lázně, with intervals of half an hour to two hours. The ride from the capital to this splendid spa city in western Czech takes up to three hours. The fare costs about ten euro.
Arriving in Mariánské Lázně from Karlovy Vary is also possible, if you want to make your trip more interesting. Although most flights stop in the Czech capital, the airport in Karlovy Vary is much closer. Regular trains depart every one and a half hours from Karlovy Vary train station to Mariánské Lázně. The ticket costs between 2 and 5 euros. The ride lasts for an hour and includes connections from other Czech cities, like Pilsen.
Transportation in Mariánské Lázně
A handy tip for you: you do not need to rely entirely on public transport in Mariánské Lázně. The city is compact, and almost all attractions are within walking distance from each other. Just in case you don’t feel like walking – perhaps you have been traveling all day, or for any other reason – then the reliable transportation system is at your service.
Mariánské Lázně is one of the smallest cities with a functioning trolleybus system. This can also pass as a side-attraction. You will find ticket machines on the trolleybuses, but keep in mind: you must have the exact fare, as the machines don’t give back any change.
This system was heavily criticized in the late 1990s due to its high operating costs. Despite the strong arguments against it, the city fought to keep the system running, soliciting for financial help from the state and the EU.
While the arguments against this loss-making service were plausible, the main perk of this system is that it is almost 100% emission-free. It is understandably the best for this spa town to use this transportation system, rather than regular, non-eco-friendly buses. Battery-powered buses are not suitable for a city like Mariánské Lázně, as they are unreliable.
The Colonnade and Spring
One of the first things you will see upon arriving in Mariánské Lázně is the massive neo-baroque colonnade, built between 1888 and 1889. It was built on the site of a former spa, at the request of Abbots of Teplá Monastery. The colonnade was inspired by the typical architecture in Vienna and perfectly represents the bohemian spas. It is an example of the architecture of that period, as is seen in Czech and other European spas.
The cycle of the ceiling frescoes depicts the wish of man to fly, and was made by artist Josef Vyleťal. The bronze reliefs on the walls of the colonnade were created by Antonín Kuchař.
The years were not so kind to many buildings, and many collapsed with time or were modernized. The main colonnade has luckily stood undamaged. It survived both world wars, which sadly cannot be said about many other buildings in the city. From 1973 to 1981 it did undergo detailed reconstructions to modernize the promenade, specifically the area between the Cross Spring and Caroline’s spring. Today, the colonnade is surrounded by a beautiful park, and it is a short walk to the main street, where you will find lots of bars and restaurants.
Indeed, what would a health resort be without a colonnade? The main colonnade in Mariánské Lázně is one of the most mesmerizing in all of Czech Republic. Locals call this 19th century, neo-baroque colonnade the Maxim Gorki colonnade and consider it a huge symbol of the city.
Another colonnade also commissioned by the Abbots of Teplá Monastery in 1827 is the Ferdinand Spring Colonnade. The spring was named after King Ferdinand the First in 1528, who allowed it to be inspected for the purpose of salt production. Today, the spring is used for its water’s magical therapeutic properties.
A Mariánské Lázně Landmark: The Singing Fountain
The colonnade in Mariánské Lázně was enhanced by the addition of the famous Singing Fountain, and is now by far the most popular attraction. The circular fountain, with a diameter of 18 meters, has a 12-piece stone sculpture with intricate flowers and a polished steel centerpiece in the middle.
The Singing Fountain boasts of an impressive water jet system that has 250 nozzles. The water coming from the jet in the middle reaches a height of six meters. The fountain is computerized and performs a clever show of effects combined with light embedded in the pool.
From April 30th until October 31st, a daily show vibrating with music takes place. The first show of the night starts at 7:00 p.m. and the last one at 10:00 p.m. During these performances, there are light dances with music by well-known musicians. It is impressive and a must-see.
Aside from the colonnade, Mariánské Lázně has a considerable number of magnificent churches. Most prominent is the octagonal Assumption of the Virgin Mary Church, which was built in 1820 on the site of Chapel of the Virgin Mary.
The floor plan of the church was drafted by Bavarian architect Johann Gottfried Gutensohn. The original church bells were tragically destroyed during the World Wars. Asides from services and sermons, concerts also take place here.
There is a rather interesting history to the Orthodox Church of St. Vladimir. The orthodox priest Nikolaj N. Pisarevský went around asking spa guests for donations to build a church. Later on, architect Nikolaj Sultanov mapped out designs for the building, which were brought to life by renowned mason Gustav Wiedermann, who also built other churches in Františkovy Lázně as well as in Karlovy Vary.
Another lovely sight is the Church of St. Vladimir. It has a unique layout in the shape of a Greek cross, where the middle part is supported by side apses. The interior has a delicately decorated iconostasis, created particularly for the World Fair in Paris in 1900.
The Evangelical Lutheran Protestant Church was also financed by a religious community. It was built for the protestant spa guests and with donations from the German Protestant Christians. A Berlin architect and builder, Christian Gottlieb Cantian designed the church. Some of its windows were gifted by Wilhelm II in 1907
One key feature of the Evangelical church’s modest nave is the life-size image of Jesus Christ. In 1999, the church was renovated, and today it hosts services and concerts.
This beautiful city is renowned for its hot springs. In addition to these healing springs, the city offers many activities that guarantee a fun trip. The landmarks are within a close range, which means less worry about transportation. As you may have seen, Mariánské Lázně is not a boring place. There is so much to do, see and discover. Take a few days exploring the city and pay Karlovy Vary a visit, afterwards.