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Marianske Lazne was established in 1808 ( 200-year anniversary of the existence of the town).
The use of the medicinal effects of natural sources, namely mineral waters, has been known since the times of the ancient Greeks and Romans. The blossoming of spas and the methods of spa treatment into how it is known today did not occur in Central Europe until 18th Century. Mariánské Lázně belongs amongst the youngest ever spa places. The year 1808 is a key date for the newly developing settlement of Mariánské Lázně. According to accessible archive sources, in this very year the monastery doctor Jan Josef Nehr opened the first spa season, at that time it was only under temporary conditions and the small buildings with the first settlers in the area of Mary’s spring and Cross spring were named Mariánské Lázně (Marienbad) by order of the Abbot of the Premonstratensian monastery in Teplá.

In 1808 the 200-year history of the town began, it then became a pearl in the world of spa towns during the 19th Century and at the beginning of the 20th Century. After the medical success of Doctor J. Nehr, the Premonstratensian monastery in Teplá led by the progressive abbot, Karel Kašpar Reitenberger, who is rightly thought of as the founder of Mariánské Lázně, began to support the research and usage of medicinal springs more and more and to invest into building new spa houses. 10 years later in 1818, Mariánské Lázně had such recognition that its name was raised on a post in a prominent public spa place (Kurort). During this time the developing new spa town increasingly attracted important celebrities from European and World culture (i.e. J. W. von Goethe, J. Dobrovský, R. Wagner, F. Chopin). As early on as during the initial era of the spa development, an excellent garden architect, Václav Skalník, imprinted on the town a specific landscape character with a great deal of thought given to the harmonic and urban system of parks, pavilions, spa buildings and viewpoints.

Due to the increase in the spa guest visitor rate, the town’s infrastructure required gradual modernisation, i.e. the implementation of a railway service (1872) and mass municipal transportation (1902), electrification, the extension of the trade network and the hotel and spa building network. Together with buildings of original classicist architecture, buildings were built which formed the present day characteristic face of our town, where Art Noveau and Romantic historicism components are mixed. The various style of buildings is present there: Roman Catholic (1848), Evangelic (1857), Anglican (1879), Orthodox (1902), also luxurious hotels (i.e. Stern, today’s Hvezda) and representative buildings (Lil, social building Casino). At the beginning of 20th Century the spas hosted important personalities of the then ruling aristocracy, i.e. Edward VII. (the English King) (1897 - 1909) and Franz Joseph I. (the Austrian emperor) (1904). In addition the spa orchestra was formed, which later on created the basis for the West Bohemian Symphonic Orchestra. The tradition of holding musical festivals, which in the past were the likes of the Wagner or Strauss Festivals and even the present day Chopin Festival, also began.

In 20th Century even Mariánské Lázně was affected by the two World Wars, which gradually eroded the multicultural social character of the town, whose spirit had survived here until the Second World War.

by Petr Novak
(ref. Marianske Lazne Encyclopedia)

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