Listen here to this article: A shaky story of a Yellow Town that will make you pregnant.
On the day of 27th April 1793, already by court decree, Františkovy Lázně has been established. A city that sprang out of the spring 🙂
Some academic sources claim that its initial name was the Village of Emperor Franz (Kaiser Franzensdorf or Franzensbrunn), Emperor Francis I (Franz Stephan von Lothringen), Duke of Lorraine and Bar, as well as the Grand Duke of Tuscany, who thanks to the marriage with Maria Theresa of Austria became the last non-Habsburg Holy Roman Emperor and Archduke of Austria. This village was later, in 1807, renamed as Františkovy Lázně.
The initial rural spa with one – Francis or František Spring (Františkův pramen), wooden colonnade, several spa houses and the Social House very quickly became one of the most sought-after European spas.
Francis Spring is the oldest local spring. It has been known since the Middle Ages, when the neighboring village of Cheb was using it as everyday mineral table water. It was known then as Slatinná kyselka (Mineral water of Slatina village) or Chebská kyselka (Mineral water of Cheb village).
The first written mention of the mineral waters in the area around Františkovy Lázně dates back to 1502.
Around 1600 it had a reputation of the most healing spring in Europe and its water was exported in ceramic bottles to all major cities. Rumours about the miraculous effects of the local water rapidly spread throughout the empire (Austro Hungarian that is), just as the clay bottles in which the water was originally sold and distributed.
Dr Adler is a person who gradually, starting in the second half of the 18th century, grew the town into a renowned global spa famous for its therapeutic springs.
During the foundation of the spa in 1793, the second wooden pavilion was built and stood above the spring until 1832. At that time, the current brick Classicist roundel with Doric columns was built, which has been preserved in its original form and is one of the symbols of Františkovy Lázně. Construction of the first spa hotel, Loimann-Badehaus (The Three Lilies) was also undertaken in 1793.
The original village street with today’s Národní třída in the form of a spa promenade was extended by three more parallel roads and took the form of a town. In order to create a truly spa environment, Františkovy Lázně had its today’s historical center surrounded with a wide strip of English parks, which were supposed to give the village the appearance of a garden town. All new streets then always led along the perimeter of the greenery and created one of the most beautiful spa destinations in Europe – a spa in a sea of parks and forest parks.
When walking around, you will definetely come accross a statue of a little boy with a fish. Originally a park sculpture from 1924 by a local sculptor Adolf Mayerl. After the IIWW it was transferred to the front of the Social House, where patients enjoyed being photographed with it.
To increase the popularity of little František, a spa photographer, Mr. Škarda invented one of the most beloved legends, according to which, every female patient who touches the large toe of his left leg becomes pregnant.
Do I have to mention what everyone is really after? His little wee-wee shines more than the bigger version at the port of Funchal 🙂 Remember R.E.M. and shiny happy people from my other blog post, if not, check it out below:
It worked for me anyway…. even though this one is only an imitation of the original Francis that can be visited at the city museum. Both are admired equally.
Particularly by the grannies
Luisa’s spring (Luisin Pramen) was discovered in 1806. In the following year, the spring was captured and named after Empress Luisa, the wife of Francis I.
Ten years later, another spring, called the Cold Spring (Studený pramen) was discovered in its vicinity. The springs remained uncovered for a long time. Today’s Empire Pavilion was built according to the project of the local engineer Stöhr in 1826.
In the place of today’s Colonnade of the Salt and Meadow Springs (Solný a Luční pramen), an insignificant elongated mound once protruded. It was during a survey under the guidance of spa doctors, dr. Pöschman and surgeon Kubicz, carried out in 1817, that the Salt Spring had been discovered. Shortly afterwards, the Meadow Spring was also found here. Opened in 1843, it is located in a sustainable, late classicist building that respects the park environment.
Both pavilions with springs are freely accessible. In the wings there are exhibition galleries. These springs’ waters are known to have a positive effect on the respiratory tract.
In 1865, Emperor Franz Joseph I elevated Františkovy Lázně to the status of a town. After being connected to the Saxon, Bavarian and Czech railway networks, it gained the dimension of a world renowned spa and in the period before the 1st World War, annual attendance of up to 20,000 patients and almost 80,000 so-called passants – spa tourists had been noted.
You could come accross some real famous names and rub your shoulders with the likes of:
- J. W. Goethe
- Franz I, Austrian Emperor
- Peer Metternich
- Ludwig van Beethoven
- Johann Strauss
while wandering around the town back in the day.
After the WWI, the city council began looking for ways to expand the therapeutic spectrum of the local waters in the aim to revive tourism at Františkovy Lázně. The first test wells were dag out in order to find deeper springs with a high content of carbon dioxide suitable for baths.
Three springs were discovered – Kostelní (Church Spring), Glauber III and Glauber IV. All with a high content of carbon dioxide. The most interesting one of them, is surely the Glauber IV Spring. Found at a depth of 92 m, it contains the most decahydrate sodium sulphate in the world. Since the 17th century, it has been known as mirabilite, as well as Glauber Salts.
These important three springs required a covered colonnade or a pavillion. Ernst Engelhardt designed a hall that was completed in 1930. The local sculptor, Adolf Mayerl designed the spring cabinets on the inside.
In the society of the 20s and 30s of the 20th century, it was a good habit of the better-off to visit the spa at least once a year.
The Pavilion of the Pramen Natálie (Natalie Spring) with two wings and the building of the spring was designed and put into operation in 1931 by the local architect Sgustav.
Its water has been exported as far as to America already before the war and remains one of the popular ones along with the Francis Spring.
After the Second World War, the spa as a whole, was nationalized and the only large state enterprise in the size of the town of Československé státní lázně a zřídla was established. Unfortunately, as any other communist invention, it served working people and only a small percentage of the foreign clientele was treated there. A good level of doctors and medical staff remained, but the treatment facilities and spa houses were not developing.
Now it was time to rub your shoulders with some of these folks:
- Božena Němcová
- Vítězslav Nezval
- Franz Kafka
- Václav Havel
- Václav Klaus
In 1992, Františkovy Lázně was declared an urban conservation area, a Municipal Heritage Reservation added to the UNESCO World Heritage as one of 11 exceptional spa towns under the common name Great Spas of Europe, along with the likes of Baden-Baden, Bath or Vichy. A completely new chapter in the history of the city began. In the same year the company Františkovy Lázně a.s. was established and a new, demanding program was set by the city management. An extensive reconstruction was undertaken. New guest houses and treatment facilities are now also being operated by private entrepreneurs.
Today’s Františkovy Lázně is a town, which has retained its historical facades and architecture to a unique degree. It is no wonder that in 2005, it was awarded the prize of “Most Beautiful Historical Town of the Czech Republic”. In the same year, Spa Resort Pawlik–Aquaforum, The World of Water and Relaxation – was opened. It is in the historical building of the Imperial Spa, which is a part of it, where you can enjoy the beneficial effects of peat baths according to the original Františkovy Lázně recipe. It was actually in this town where the therapeutic effects of peat baths were discovered for the good of mankind. For each separate bath, 80 kg of specially treated local peat is used.
The ambient of a spa is felt here everywhere you go. Thus, Františkovy Lázně has treasured its spa industry for centuries up to the present as its greatest gem, and so it never became a busy town or entertaining wellness centre. All is focused on the high-quality spa treatments and the improvement of the health of everyone who arrives to Františkovy Lázně for this very purpose.
…or to get pregnant…
In fact František owes me at least one baby still…
But instead of making babies, let’s make safe love and adopt those that are already born and sadly have no one to take care of them.
You may know about the surrogate business in Ukraine but perhaps you may not realize that many of the sperm+egg deals end up in the babies never being claimed by their biological parents. A surrogate in such case receives her pay, however the children end up in the facilities. This is one of the more popular countries where this type of business thrives. Accross the world there are millions of children in need of mommies and daddies. Do consider them, please before asking Francis for help.
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