Karlovy Vary is a spa city in the Karlovy Vary Region of the Czech Republic. It has about 48,000 inhabitants. It lies on the confluence of the rivers Ohře and Teplá, approximately 130 km (81 mi) west of Prague. It is named after Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperor and the King of Bohemia, who founded the city in 1370. It is the site of numerous hot springs (13 main springs, about 300 smaller springs, and the warm-water Teplá River), and is the most visited spa town in the Czech Republic. Until 1945, when the German-speaking inhabitants were expelled, the city was overwhelmingly German-speaking.
Local buses (Dopravní podnik Karlovy Vary) and cable cars take passengers to most areas of the city. The Imperial funicular is the oldest tunnel funicular in Europe and the steepest in the Czech Republic, the Diana funicular was at the time of commissioning the longest funicular in Austria-Hungary.
The city is accessible via the D6 motorway and inter-city public transport options include inter-city buses, Czech Railways, and Deutsche Bahn via the Karlovy Vary–Johanngeorgenstadt railway. Karlovy Vary Airport is an international airport located 4.5 kilometres (2.8 mi) south-east from the city, at the nearby village of Olšová Vrata. In winter 2020, the airport is only serviced by scheduled flights to Moscow.
- Catholic Church of St. Mary Magdalene – built by Kilian Ignaz Dientzenhofer in 1737
- Orthodox Saint Peter and Paul Cathedral – 1898
- Protestant Church of Saints Peter and Paul – 1856
- Church of St. Anne – 1745
- Greek Catholic St. Andrew Cemetery Church – 1500
- Methodist Church of Saint Luke – 1877
- St. Linharta ruins from 13th century
- Synagogue (opened 1994)
It is also known for the popular Czech liqueur Becherovka and the production of the famous glass manufacturer Moser Glass, which is considered as the most luxurious Czech brand. The famous Karlovarské oplatky (Carlsbad wafers) originated in the city in 1867. It has also lent its name to “Carlsbad plums”, candied stuffed zwetschgen.
In the 19th century, Karlovy Vary became a popular tourist destination, especially known for international celebrities who visited for spa treatment. The city is also known for the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, which is one of the oldest in the world and one of Europe’s major film events.
The city has been used as the location for a number of film-shoots, including the 2006 films Last Holiday and box-office hit Casino Royale, both of which used the city’s Grandhotel Pupp in different guises. Moreover, the Palace Bristol Hotel in Karlovy Vary had been used as a model for The Grand Budapest Hotel movie.