Our view of the historic market square of Karlovy Vary (Carlsbad/Karlsbad) shows the market colonnade (Trzni Kolonada), in the background the castle tower of Karlovy Vary and on the right the view into Lazenska Street. In the left background of the picture, town houses rise along the ascending slope. Karlovy Vary lies in the partly very narrow valley of the Tepla River and developed into a spa town from the 14th century onwards due to its many thermal springs. The Roman-German Emperor Charles IV is said to have been treated here and elevated the town to the status of royal town in 1370, whereupon the suffix “Karl” was added to the town’s name. The city developed into one of the most famous and traditional spas in the world. A historical view of the market square can be found on Wikipedia. It looks sideways onto the square and shows the statue (high baroque plague column with the sculptural group of the Holy Trinity) in the middle, which can be seen in our panorama on the left. To the right of it you can still see the Old Town Hall and an older pavilion above the market spring.
Today the Market Colonnade (Trzni Kolonada) covers three thermal springs: Charles IV’s Spring, the Dolní Castle Spring and the Market Spring. It was built in 1883 by the Viennese carpenter Franz Oesterreicher as a richly carved, open structure in the Swiss style. It is a cultural monument of the Czech Republic and is also located on the site of the original oldest spa in Karlovy Vary above the spring of Charles IV. Originally erected as a temporary building, it still fulfils its function today. In 1904-1905, the Market Colonnade was extended to the right, but a complete connection to the Mill Colonnade a little further on was never realised.
Castle tower (Schlossturm)
On a rocky spur above the market (Tržiště) once stood a Gothic castle, commissioned by Charles IV in the 14th century. It burnt down completely in the great fire of 1604, and only the large tower was rebuilt as a watchtower. A further reconstruction in 1766 added an arcade walkway, from which the spa season was subsequently opened and famous spa guests were welcomed with music.
Since 2021, Karlovy Vary, together with 10 other spa towns, has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site belonging to the Great Spas of Europe.