Karlovy Vary (also known as Karlsbad, its German name or Carlsbad, its English name) is a historic spa town in West Bohemia, in the western Czech Republic. It's famous for its mineral springs and its gorgeous Belle Epoque architecture.
Karlovy Vary, meaning "Charles' Bath", was named after Charles IV, King of Bohemia and Holy Roman Emperor, who founded the city in 1370. It is famous for its hot springs and its colorful and whimsical architecture. For these reasons, it was a popular tourist destination starting in the 18th century with guests including Tsar Peter the Great, Emperor Franz Josef I, Beethoven, Goethe, Wagner, Brahms, Leo Tolstoy, and Karl Marx. Tourism ground to a halt during World War I and the city never fully regained its former glory. After World War II, the largely German-speaking city was cleared of its inhabitants and replaced with Czech settlers. Czech remains the major language today but the signs of German culture and heritage are still very evident. The town is one of the three corners of the West Bohemian Spa Triangle.
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