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Spa towns and beauty spots in the Carlsbad Region

Spa towns and beauty spots in the Carlsbad Region

The Architecture of the West Bohemian spa towns

The architecture of the West Bohemian Spa towns is very characteristic. Two West Bohemian spa sites, Františkovy Lázně and Mariánské Lázně, originated and developed during the periods of Classicism and Empire. Both of these sites began to be founded at around 1800, Františkovy Lázně in 1793 and Mariánské Lázně in 1818. The aforementioned spa towns are typical by the intermingling of their buildings with nature in the form of a natural park. The development plan of Františkovy Lázně was worked up by Abbé Gruber in 1795 and in 1827 it was culminated by Michael Riedl in the spirit of an English park. The development plan of Mariánské Lázně was created by builder George Fischer and artistic gardener Václav Skalník in 1818. Natural parks are the most valuable heritage of Empire, they originated as copies of mansion parks, i.e. they copied the life of the aristocracy. The popularity of parks originated in the spirit of Romanticism and from the teachings of J. J. Rosseau. The extremly anglophile intelligentsia during the period of the Napoleon wars also played a role. Mariánské Lázně is an excellent example of an extensive English park. Introduction of the railway became a significant dividing line regarding the development of West Bohemian spas after 1870. Subsequently towns expanded in the direction of railways and train stations. The railway launched the supreme phase of spa life. Another revolutionary act was mass utilisation of iron as a construction material. Cast iron and pre-fabricated components made of this material became a modern element. Bridges, railings, colonnades, lamps and many other objects were made of iron and cast iron.

Revivalism and Art Noveau styles influenced West Bohemian spas during the period between 1870 – 1914. It is characteristic that the development of building in all 3 spas precisely corresponds to their economic development during this period. The First World War meant the end of both these types of development. In principle it ended the development of building in our spas. The appearance of the spa centres did not change radically during the 20th century.

A medley of builders under the direction of Prague and regional authorities was active in Carlsbad until the middle of the 19th century. There was a turning point under Mayor Eduard Knoll after 1870 and Vienna received the green light. Architects Fellner and Helmer managed to induce an atmosphere of worldliness in a famous but provincially modest town. In every aspect Carlsbad copied Vienna. The dominant town-creating element in Carlsbad was Revivalism.

Following the withdrawal of Prague influence in Mariánské Lázně, the local builder Josef Schaffer managed to assert himself at the end of the 19th century. He was strongly inspired by the architecture of the Riviera and Monte Carlo. He markedly influenced the town by numerous important buildings (the New Spa, Palladio, etc.), which have assumed many motifs from the seaside regions to the south of the Alps. Mariánské Lázně is also dominated by Revivalism in all its appearances.

Until the middle of the 19th century the structural appearance of Františkovy Lázně was determined by Cheb builder Adam Haberzettel, subsequently the chief creators were local architects Karl and Gustav Widermann (father and son). Their creations ranged through Romantic, severe and late Revivalism styles and also through Art Noveau. From the town aspect Empire dominates Františkovy Lázně. Of all three spa towns Františkovy Lázně has best retained its original Empire characteristics. In spite of frequent impairment of its former harmony, this town remains an artistic jewel.
Dr. Stanislav Burachovič

Carlsbad

Carlsbad is without exaggeration a cultural historical phenomenon of European importance. The poet Goethe called it the chessboard of Europe, naturalist Humboltd a diamond set in a ring of emeralds. Before the First World War Carlsbad was, humorously but concisely, characterised as an Austrian spa on German territory in Bohemia, built by Czech hands and financed by Jewish money. Traditional Carlsbad symbols and specialities include the unique Vřídla (hot spring) geyser, the statue of a chamois on so-called Jelení skok (deer leap), Becherovka liqueur, which had been produced since 1807, sweet wafers, Moser brand Crystal glass, quality porcelain, stone roses made of aragonite mineral and the International Film Festival. Carlsbad is the most famous spa in the Czech Republic. For hundreds of years diseases of the digestive system, the locomotor system and metabolic diseases have been treated here. The history of this town of hot springs was first written on 14th August 1370 when Emperor Charles IV conferred the statute of royal town to the existing spa. The numerous privileges conferred to it, regularly confirmed by Czech rulers until 1858, are proof of its unique standing. The town has been affected by disasters several times – fires in 1604 and 1759, floods in 1582, 1821 and 1890. It also suffered great damages during wars. However thanks to the spa industry it was always renewed and at the end of the 19th Century Carlsbad became a world-renowned spa. A number of period styles participated in creating today’s, fourth, architectonic appearance of the spa town in sequence. In the past its structural substance was always transformed after approximately 100 – 120 years. Gothic and Renaissance monuments have disappeared in the abyss of time. The Parish Church of Mary Magdalene, the Trinity column, the Mansion tower and several statues are memories of the Baroque period. The Renaissance and Baroque character of the spa was wiped away by the great town fires. At the end of the 18th and the beginning of the 19th century Carlsbad was affected by Classicism, Empire and Biedermeier, styles that were characteristic of decorative spa architecture. Construction in the spirit of Revivalism and Art Noveau during the second half of the 19th century had the greatest effect on today’s character of the town. At that time extensive modernisation of the town required numerous demolitions of outdated buildings. The most distinctive public buildings and spa facilities in Carlsbad were created during the period from 1855 – 1914. The influence of Viennese architecture, incarnated in Carlsbad by builders Ferdinand Fellner and Hermann Helmer, had a decisive influence on the structural character during the era of Revivalism. These architects designed projects for more than 20 buildings in Carlsbad, which gave the town its unique atmosphere, which is admired to this day (the Spring colonnade, the theatre, the Market Colonnade, Goethe’s lookout, Imperial Spa, etc.).

Carlsbad boasts visits by numerous famous guests, chiefly from among European rulers, musicians, poets, writers and scientists (Charles IV., Waldstein, Peter the Great, Bach, Gellert, Joseph II., Goethe (13 visits!), Casanova, Schiller, Körner, Paganini, Beethoven, Mickiewicz, Chopin, Gogol, Tyl, Lizst, Barrande, Purkyně, Freud, Schliemann, Fontane, Brahms, Wagner, Grieg, František Josef I., Kafka, Atatürk etc.). Visits by the most famous visitors are commemorated by tens of memorial plaques, statues and monuments in the town.

Františkovy Lázně

A physician from Cheb, Dr. Bernhard Vinzenz Adler (1753 – 1810) was responsible for the founding of the town of Františkovy Lázně. He examined the local springs, wrote two books about them and had them tapped. The official date of establishment of Františkovy Lázně is 27th April 1793. The spa site was called Kaiser Franzensbad in honour of Emperor Franz II. The spa expanded rapidly, new buildings were built, trees planted and roads established. From the beginning the town was planned and architecturally unified. The plan for its construction was designed by the provincial building director, Tobias Gruber. The English style parks in Františkovy Lázně were designed from 1829 by district officer Michael Reidl. Around 1850 Františkovy Lázně became a familiar and popular spa of European format. Chiefly gynaecological diseases (particularly infertility), and from the beginning of the 20th century cardiac, vascular and rheumatic diseases were also treated here. In 1865 Františkovy Lázně acquired the statute of a town. In the same year it acquired a connection to the European rail network through Cheb. Františkovy Lázně has a unique preserved spa architecture dating from the beginning of the 19th century. Numerous important buildings (for instance the Imperial Spa, Russian Church, etc.) originated in the atelier of the local architect, Gustav Wiedermann (1850 – 1914). The main promenade in Františkovy Lázně is Národní třída (National Avenue) (originally Císařská třída (Imperial Avenue)) with a number of monument buildings dating from around 1800. Beethoven was accommodated in the building U dvou zlatých lvú (By the two gold lions) in 1812. Goethe, Prince Metternich and other important individuals stayed at the Tři lilie hotel (Three Lillies Hotel). The so-called Social House and the classicist pavilion of Františkova spring dating from 1832 are rare building monuments in the spa centre. During the 19th century Františkovy Lázně played an important role as a social-cultural centre. They inspired a number of literary works. The German writer, Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach, wrote her remarkable essays “From Františkovy Lázně“ here. The writer Božena Němcová (1846) was also treated here. She descried the spa in 3 short essays. Music composers Johann Strauss (for the first time in 1884) and Ludwig van Beethoven (1812) were also treated here. J. W. Goethe visited Františkovy Lázně 33 times in total. The poet stayed here for an extended period in 1808, when he was concerned with investigation of the extinct volcano at Komorní Hůrka. During the period between 1815 – 1848 Františkovy Lázně were visited for instance by General Blucher, a victor over Napoleon, professor Christoph Hufeland, the author of numerous documents on European spas, the aforementioned Prince Metternich, the Austrian Archduke Stephen and the Prague musical composer Václav Jan Tomášek.

Jáchymov

Jáchymov is an important historical and spa town in the Ore Mountains. It was established in 1516 by the rich silver mines belonging to the Earls of Šlik. During the 16th century it became famous due to its exceptionally profitable mining industry and silver coinage, so-called tollars. Renaissance Jáchymov, which had nearly 18 000 inhabitants at around 1530, lived a rich cultural life. Important people, inseparably linked to the fate and development of the town during the 16th century, included the Lutheran preacher Johann Mathesius, the physician and naturalist Georgius Agricloa, mint master Lazarus Ercker and the teacher at the Latin school Nikolaus Hermann. During the 18th and 19th centuries Jáchymov was well-known for its mining school and production of uranium pigments. The traditional Jáchymov ore mining industry was replaced by a radioactive spa industry after its attenuation at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries. The famous physicist Marie Curie-Sklodowska, who discovered the new element polonium, discovered the element radium in Jáchymov waste ore from production of uranium pigments in 1898. Shortly afterwards physicists proved the radon contents (healing radium emanations) in some of the Jáchymov thermal waters. The first experiments with the healing effects of these radioactive waters followed. In 1906 Jáchymov became the first radon (radioactive) spa site in the world. The chief indications for treatment at the Jáchymov spa are diseases of the locomotor system, nervous and metabolic diseases. The Jáchymov spa centre originated in the lower part of the town. In 1912 a magnificent spa hotel called the Radium Palace was built here. This was visited by a number of famous guests, for instance Czechoslovak president T. G. Masaryk and Nobel Prize winner Marie Curie-Sklodowska in 1925. The spa visiting rate grew rapidly, around 1930 it reached over 9 000 guests per annum. One of the numerous remarkable patients of Jáchymov was Karl May, the German writer of adventure novels, who visited the spa in 1911. Jáchymov architecture is distinguished by its extensive complex of late-Gothic and Renaissance town houses. The most valuable monument buildings in the town include the Renaissance town hall dating from 1544 (rebuilt in 1902), the deaconry Church of Saint Jáchym dating from 1540 (rebuilt in 1876), the building of the former Royal mint dating from 1536 with museum, the Chapel of Saint Barbara (1770), the Chapel of Saint Anne (1778), the Chapel of Saint John of Nepomuk (1734), the late-Gothic Hospital Church dating from the beginning of the 16th century and the ruins of Freundenstein castle dating from the same period.

Mariánské Lázně

Mariánské Lázně is one of the youngest Czech spa towns. It has an excellent tradition in treatment of diseases of the digestive, respiratory, locomotor and urinary systems. The local springs have been well known since medieval times. They are located on the land of the Premonstrate monastery in Teplá and therefore they were called Tepelské or Úšovické springs. The spa was established these springs on the instigation of the monastery physician, dr. Johann Josef Nehr (1772 – 1820). He oversaw the drying out of the marshes, tapping of the springs and construction of the spa buildings. In 1805 he had the first spa building, U Zlaté Koule (By the Gold Ball) built by Křížový Spring (Cross Spring). In 1808 one of the springs received the title of Mariánský spring. The first spa season also took place in this year with 80 guests. The newly established spa site was called Mariánské Lázně – Marienbad for the first time in the same year. Abbot Karl Kaspar Reitenberger economically supported development of the spa town. On 6th November 1818 Mariánské Lázně was declared a public spa. Its parks in the spirit of English mansion gardens were designed by artistic gardener Václav Skalník (1776 – 1861), the subsequent mayor of Mariánské Lázně. Mariánské Lázně became a town in 1866. Construction of the railway in 1872 with a connection to Cheb and Pilsen further supported development of the spa industry. In 1898 another route was also built from Mariánské Lázně to Carlsbad. In 1887 Mariánské Lázně became the administrative seat of the court district, and in 1902 it became a district town. The architecture of Mariánské Lázně originates mostly from the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries and is built in the spirit of Revivalism and Art Noveau. Many of the buildings were designed by important Mariánské Lázně builder Josef Schaffer, who was chiefly inspired by the architecture in the area of the Riviera. The most valuable building monuments of the town include the main colonnade (1889), the New spa (1896), the Casino social building (1900), the Central spa (1892 – rebuilt 1985), the Bog spa (1882), Goethe’s building (1818), which houses a museum today and which was formerly called U zlatého hroznu (by the Gold Bunch of Grapes), the Roman Catholic Church of the Ascension of the Virgin Mary (1848), the colonnade of Caroline’s spring (1811 and 1823), the orthodox Church of Saint Vladimir (1902) and the Anglican Church (1879). A number of famous people from among the aristocracy and intelligentsia were treated at Mariánské Lázně. Guests included for instance J.W. Goethe, M. Twain, H. Ibsen, I.S. Turgenev, R. Kipling, F. Chopin, J. Strauss, R. Wagner, C. M. Weber, T. A. Edison, Edward VII., (9 visits!) and M. Gorky. Goethe met his last love in Mariánské Lázně in 1821, Ulrika von Levetzow. The English King Edward VII, who was treated in Mariánské Lázně during the period from 1897 – 1909, established a golf course here.

Kynžvart

The Kynžvart climatic spa is located at the foot of the Slávkov Forest not far from Mariánské Lázně. It specialises in treatment of respiratory diseases in children. The Kynžvart healing springs were first mentioned in 1454. From 1623 the municipality of Kynžvart was owned by the aristocratic Metternich family, which established a magnificent mansion with extensive park here. The first modest spa was established in Kynžvart in 1822. During the same year Kynžvart mineral water was analysed by the famous Swedish chemist J. J. Berzelius. At his recommendation six springs were tapped during the same year. As well as being utilised in the spa treatments the spring water also began to be exported in stoneware jugs under the name of Konigswarter Stahlwasser. However due to small profits and great competition from other nearby regional springs (Carlsbad, Františkovy Lázně, Mariánské Lázně, Kyselka, etc.) exports soon ceased. The Prince Metternich’s personal phyisican, dr. Friedrich Jager, initiated construction of new spa buildings in 1856. In 1862 the Kynžvart waters were officially declared to be healing. At that time dr. Josef Loschner, a pioneer in balneotherapy in the Czech lands, was an important promoter of the Kynžvart spa and its springs. In 1863 the large Metternich spa house was build, and was called Orlík after 1945. Later on a colonnade, balenotherapy building (1885) and several accommodation buildings, were built. Export of Richardka mineral water was renewed, which was named after Richard Clemens Metternich (1829 – 1895), the son of Prince C.L.V.A. Metternich (1773 – 1859). The well-known Prague chemist, dr. Gintl, performed a chemical analysis of this mineral water in 1897. As well as Kynžvart spring water the local peat was also used for medical treatments from the end of the 19th century. It was dug from the Slávkov Forest area. The third natural healing source in Kynžvart was and still is the exceptionally pure air in this forested area. Since the very beginning catarrhs of the respiratory system were treated in Kynžvart as well as other diseases. After the First World War, the acidic Richardka and Viktorka spring waters were used here as a drinking treatment and another four mineral springs were used in carbonic baths. The Kynžvart spa never competed with the nearby Mariánské Lázně spa due to their differing indications for treatment.

Konstantinovy Lázně

Konstantinovy Lázně is located at the southern edge of the Carlsbad district in picturesque countryside. In 1809 the owner of the Bezdružic Konstantin estate, Prince Löwenstein-Wertheim, ordered an expert’s report from the Teplá monastery physician, dr. Johann Josef Nehr, regarding the acidulous waters by Neudorf village. The springs were used by local farmers for treating various problems. Doctor Nehr recommended use of the Neudorf water for spa purposes. On the basis of this the first masonry spa building, the so-called Old spa, was built in 1812 in Neudorf, replacing the wooden building dating from 1803. It had 22 rooms, a dining room and 5 bath cabins. The costs for establishment and operation of the spa were to high however and so the village sold it to Prince Löwenstein on 6th June 1835 for 1843 gold pieces. The prince rented the spa and diligently managed its development. He gradually had a colonnade, a park and new roads built and had additional springs tapped, which were examined by Prague chemist dr. Josef Lerch. Around 1870 Prince Löwenstein transferred ownership of the spa to the Pilsen trading company directed by JUDr. F. Pankratz. In 1875 a new two-storey spa building was built, the park developed and the colonnade modernised at the instigation of Dr. Pankratz. Another analysis of the Neudorf healing springs was performed by R. Fresenius in 1876. At that time they were used to treat rheumatism, anaemia and epilepsy. Sofia, the wife of dr. Pankratz, had the Marian Chapel built on a hill by the main spa building in 1890. In 1900 the original name of the Neudorf village was changed to Konstantinovy Lázně in honour of Prince Konstantin (Konstantinsbad). In 1901 the spa acquired a connection to the railway, which led to construction of numerous additional treatment and accommodation facilities. In 1928 Konstantinovy Lázně were officially acknowledged as a spa treatment site. During the same year the main spa building (today the Prusík Spa Institute) was rebuilt in its current form. Konstantinovy Lázně specialises in treatment of cardiac diseases and diseases of the locomotor system.
Bečov nad Teplou

The beginnings of Bečov nad Teplou date to the 13th century. A settlement with a fortified courtyard originated at the crossroads of two trading routes and a castle was build on the same site at around 1300, this was the administrative centre of a region with important tin mines in Horní Slávkov and Krásno. The settlement at the foot of the castle acquired town rights in 1399. During the medieval, Renaissance and Baroque period ownership of Bečov changed frequently. In 1752 Bečov became the hereditary property of the Earls of Kounic and during the period from 1813 – 1945 it belonged to the Belgium dukes of Beaufort-Spontini. Bečov reached its prime during the 16th century, when the tin industry developed there. At that time the humanist poet, Filip Rab was born here. During the period from 1850 – 1949 Bečov was the seat of the Court District. The town inhabitants earned a living by farming, forestry, crafts and also music, development of which was supported by the Questenberk and Kounic families as early as the Baroque period. A populous Jewish community existed in Bečov since the medieval period. At the end of the 19th century Bečov became a railway crossroads. The railway supported development of local industry and tourism. At present Bečov is successfully attempting to renew traditional tourism, and the historical centre, which is a monument zone. In 1998 the statute of town was returned to the municipality. The well-known elementary art school follows onto the past diverse musical traditions. The complex of the state castle has been undergoing expensive reconstruction work in recent years. Its chief attraction is the restored reliquary of Saint Maur, a valuable Romanesque relic dating from the beginning of the 12th century and one of the greatest cultural treasures of Europe. The reliquary originates from the Benedictine Abbey in Belgium Florennes, from where the Beaufort-Spontini family brought it. It was thought to have been lost in 1945 but in 1985 it was discovered under the floor of the castle chapel. The historical centre of Bečov is dominated by the complex of one of the best-preserved Czech late-Gothic castles. The so-called Lower mansion was constructed during the Baroque reconstruction of the fore courts during the period between 1750 – 1753. After construction of the mansion the castle was abandoned and gradually fell into disrepair. Bečov town centre has a medieval layout. The original medieval character of the town buildings was destroyed by fires (1621 and 1760) and the recent demolitions and modernisations. The town fortifications were also demolished long ago and only their remains have been preserved. The ramparts were linked to the castle fortifications and they only had one town entrance gate. The newly constructed Baroque Parish Church of Saint George forms the second dominant point of Bečov and was constructed during the period from 1763 -67 on the site of an older church. The building of the town hall, dating from the period following 1760 and the Baroque Marian column dating from 1680, are situated on the former marketplace, today’s town square. A number of buildings have retained their Gothic cores with cellars. The east section of the town centre is formed of the enclosed Jewish Ghetto. There was a Synagogue here dating from 1688, but it has been demolished. To the south of Bečov the remains of the stone structure of the town gallows have been preserved on Šíbeniční vrch, and an education trail with the subject of capital punishment was established to this site in 2003. Due to its location and important places of interest Bečov is the ideal starting point for trips to the protected regional area of the Slávkov Forest.

Jiří Schierl & Stanislav Burachovič

Teplá

The small old town of Teplá is the administrative centre of the southeast part of the Carlsbad region. Teplá was established in the 12th century. A village with an important provincial customs house on the trade route from Cheb to Prague used to stand on its site. In 1193 the magnate of the surrounding area established not far from Teplá. The monastery pond industry was very important. Teplá was raised to the status of a town in 1385, when the ruler conferred numerous privileges to it. The history of Teplá was unfavourably influenced by the Hussite wars, a fire of the town on 1537, the plague epidemic and the violence of the Thirty Year War, which led to the landscape being depopulated so that it had to be repeatedly colonised by German settlers. In 1680 the great Farmer Rebellion, which was suppressed by the authorities, occurred in the Teplá region. During the 18th century the monastery became the centre of science and art. A natural science cabinet and extended library were established in the monastery’s educational establishment, where all sciences were taught as well as law and medicine. The period of abbot Kryštof Heřmann, during the period from 1767 – 1789, was particularly beneficial, because the abbot’s extensive farming activities using the most modern methods, led the whole monastery territory to unprecedented prosperity. By his efforts and influence the abbot prevented the monastery from being closed during the rule of Joseph II. The Teplá Premonstrates were at the origin of nearby Mariánské Lázně, the springs of which were examined in the 1880s by monastery physician Josef Johann Nehr. The promisingly developing spa subsequently represented one of the chief avenues of income for the monastery during the 19th century.

The town of Teplá has many artistic historical monuments, for instance the Baroque Deaconry Church of Saint Giles, the Church of the Most Holy Trinity , the Plague Column dating from 1721, the old town hall and a number of Baroque chapels and sculptures. However the most valuable monument in Teplá is the aforementioned Premonstrate monastery, famous for its extraordinarily valuable library, Romanesque-Baroque Church of the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary and its organ concerts. The monastery library boasts an extraordinarily extensive collection of medieval illuminated manuscripts. No visitor to the Carlsbad region should miss the opportunity of touring the monastery.

Milan Augustin & Stanislav Burachovič

Loket, the cradle of Carlsbad

Loket, formerly a royal regional capital, first mentioned on 2nd August 1268 in a document by King Přemysl Otakar II., is one of the oldest settlement localities in the territory of the West Bohemian Spas. Goethe’s admiration of the beauty of Loket is fully shared by everyone who becomes acquainted with this romantic castle town. The unique location of Loket in the forested valley of the River Ohře captivates every appreciative visitor. The typical silhouette of Loket castle creates an unforgettable impression. It has hosted many famous people within its walls, for instance King John of Luxembourg and his wife Eliška Přemyslovna with prince Václav (subsequently Charles IV). Emperor Charles IV. travelled to Loket very frequently and one of his visits was related to establishment of the Carlsbad spa. Charles’ son Václav IV. also visited Loket. Loket is a landscape miracle, which originated through harmonic cooperation between nature and man. The humanist, Caspar Bruschius, called Loket the key to Bohemia in 1542. Loket is a live textbook of history and architectural styles. During their spa visits to Carlsbad famous people such as Goethe (has a monument and memorial plaque in Loket), Herder, Erbert and Korner (has a memorial plaque in Loket) also liked to visit Loket. The most interesting monuments in Loket are the Romanesque – Gothic castle founded around 1130 by Margrave Diepold II. of Vohburg and first mentioned in 1234 (today’s appearance of the castle originated through reconstruction during the period between 1390 – 1547), the square with its Baroque town hall (1685), the Trinity Column (1719), Goethe’s hotel the White Horse (the original garden terrace, on which the poet Goethe celebrated his 74th birthday on 28th August 1823 in the company of 19 year old Ulrika von Levetzow, whose hand in marriage he requested, has been preserved in the hotel) and tens of historical houses from the Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque periods, also the Robič tower, the main town gate and the ramparts with bastions. There is an exhibition gallery and permanent exhibition of Carlsbad spa cups in the Loket town hall. The exhibition explains the ancient close link between Loket and Carlsbad. One of the symbols of this link is the historical character of Physician Václav Payer who published the first document on Carlsbad treatment in 1522. In the past Loket became famous due its porcelain and gingerbread manufacture. The Loket porcelain factory was established in 1815 by the Haidinger brothers. The artistically significant home manufacture by porcelain painters, so-called enamel artists, developed in connection to the porcelain factory in Loket during the 19th century. The best of these enamel artists was Josef Kiihnhackel, a painter of flowers. The chain bridge over the Ohře River dating from 1836 used to be a unique technical monument in Loket. After one hundred years of existence its was replaced by the existing concrete bridge. One can extol the beauties, monuments and rich history of Loket for much longer. However a personal visit to Loket will tell the visitor much more then the most poetic praise.