Karlovy Vary (Czech pronunciation: [ˈkarlovɪ ˈvarɪ] ,  in English as Carlsbad) is a spa city situated in western Bohemia, Czech Republic, on the confluence of the rivers Ohře and Teplá, approximately 130 km (80.78 miles) west of Prague. It is named after King of Bohemia and Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV, who founded the city in 1370. It is historically famous for its hot springs (13 main springs, about 300 smaller springs, and the warm-water Teplá River).

In the 19th century, it became a popular tourist destination, especially for international celebrities visiting for spa treatment. The city is also known for the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival and the popular Czech liqueur Karlovarská Becherovka. The glass manufacturer Moser Glass is located in Carlsbad. The city has also given its name to the famous delicacy known as "Carlsbad plums". These plums (usually Quetsch) are candied in hot syrup, then halved and stuffed into dried damsons; this gives them a very intense flavour.

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.

Carlsbad, New Mexico; Carlsbad Caverns National Park; and Carlsbad, California all take their names from Carlsbad.

History

On 14 August 1370, Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperor gave city privileges to the place that subsequently was named after him, according to legend after he had acclaimed the healing power of the hot springs. However, earlier settlements could be found in the outskirts of today's city.

Due to publications by doctors like David Becher and Josef von Löschner, the city developed into a famous spa resort and was visited by many members of European aristocracy. It became popular after the railway lines to Eger (Cheb) and Prague were completed in 1870.

The number of visitors rose from 134 families in the 1756 season to 26,000 guests annually at the end of the 19th century. By 1911 that figure had reached already 71,000 but World War I put an end to tourism and also led to the collapse of the Austro Hungarian Empire by late 1918.

The German-speaking majority protested against being made a part of Czechoslovakia by the Treaty of Saint Germain. A demonstration on 4 March 1919 passed peacefully, but later that month six demonstrators were killed by Czech troops after a demonstrations turned unruly.

In 1938 the Sudetenland including Carlsbad became part of Nazi Germany after the Munich Agreement. After World War II, the majority of ethnic German population of the city was expelled according to the Potsdam Agreement.

Before that, the Carlsbad Decrees of 1819 had associated the city with anti-liberal censorship within the German Confederation.

Since the fall of the Soviet Union and the end of Communist rule in the Czech Republic, there has been a steady increase of the Russian business presence in Karlovy Vary.

Source: Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karlovy_Vary)