Czech Republic. Karlovy Vary (Carlsbad)
Situated in a picturesque valley sheltered from prying eyes by woods and mountains is the town of Karlovy Vary – one of the most visited places in the Czech Republic. The breathtaking scenery, as well as the town’s rich historical past that reflects in everything you lay your eyes on, tempts people all over the world to come and see everything with their own eyes just to make sure the photographs of the spot do not lie and the real place is just as beautiful as in its numerous pictures.
Karlovy Vary is famous for its thermal mineral springs. According to a popular legend, the town was founded in the XIV century by King Charles IV. The man was once injured during a deer hunt. There was no one around to tend to his wounds – he left his companions far behind. Thirsty and suffering from pain, he no longer paid any attention to where his horse was going, until it stepped out of the woods into a clearing where a spring broke out of the ground. Not only did the water quench the king’s thirst, but it also relieved his pain and restored his powers. The king realized the water in the area had powerful healing properties, so he ordered to build a cabin close to that place. In the course of time, the area turned into a popular spa resort. Millions of people from all over the world flocked to Karlovy Vary for the purpose of improving their health. Beethoven, Paganini, Chopin, Schiller, Goethe and many other famous people paid regular visits to the area.
Another pride of Karlovy Vary is its unique architecture. Sightseers from all over the world flock to the area to catch a glimpse of the beautiful castles aplenty in the country. Some would readily sell their souls for a chance to visit Loket Castle (Hrad Loket), one of the most coveted tourist destinations in the world. The gloomy castle located on top of a massive rock looks quite surreal – as if torn out of another dimension where kings rule and those who dare disobey their orders are beheaded in the blink of an eye. The fact that it’s a museum now does nothing to eliminate the eerie atmosphere of the place.
One of the most popular structures in Karlovy Vary is the Mill Colonnade (Mlýnská kolonáda) situated on the left bank of the river Teplá. The structure that is 132 m (433 ft) long and 13 m (43 ft) wide contains several hot springs. The one called the Mill Spring (Mlýnský pramen) is rumored to clean and heal not only body, but soul as well.