Spa resorts and natural healing resources have been used for their positive health effects for years. The Czech Republic is one of the countries that has most significantly contributed to the development and global importance of spas.
Czech spas developed the most during the 18th to 20th centuries. During this time, many spas were completely reconstructed into a new artistic form, which is now typical for Czech spas. Many houses and spa hotels were built in a neoclassical, neo-Renaissance or Art Nouveau style, adding to the overall charm and beauty of the spas. In addition, around the spa springs, parks, colonnades, gazebos, and pavilions were all established in order to contribute to the general peaceful and inviting atmosphere. Spas also became important centers of social and cultural life and gained the name "salons of Europe”.
During their time of greatest acclaim and notoriety, Czech spas attracted prominent personalities of political and cultural life from all around the world. As early as the beginning of the 18th century a visit from Czar Peter the Great in Karlovy Vary greatly contributed to the development of spas in the Czech Republic. The West Bohemia spa triangle, formed by Karlovy Vary (Carlsbad), Marianske Lazne (Marienbad) and Frantiskovy Lazne (Franzenbad), became a favorite destination for the elite. The top of the ruling aristocracy gathered in the spas to conduct political and business meetings, organize balls, concerts and theater performances.
Among the most prominent Czech spa guests were German poet and dramatist J. W. Goethe, composers L. van Beethoven and Mozart and the Italian violin virtuoso N. Paganini, and King Edward VII. Even Americans, including light bulb inventor, T. A. Edison, and Mark Twain, author of the popular Adventures of Tom Sawyer, were fascinated by Czech spas.