The Imperial Spa built for Emperor Franz Josef has served monarchs, politicians and film stars

Photo: Naďa Krásná, Czech Radio

Before serving as a stylish backdrop to James Bond’s Casino Royale, this famous Czech spa catered to the world’s elite. In the course of the 20th century the Imperial Baths served monarchs, politicians and more recently film stars. The spa house has now been restored to its former glory.

The history of Karlovy Vary is linked to balneology. The town’s mineral springs and peat baths attracted people from far and wide and in the late 19th century, at the initiative of local physicians,  the town council financed the construction of a spa house that would cater to an elite clientele from Europe and beyond.

The Imperial Baths complex opened in 1895 and, in its day and age, it was the largest, most luxuriously equipped spa house on the Continent. Designed by the famous architectural firm Fellner and Helmer, it was not only a haven of luxury and privacy for the rich and famous – it offered mineral waters and peat baths that professed to have great healing powers.

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Authors: Daniela Lazarová, Jana Strejčková, Source:Český rozhlas