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Czech RepublicsipkaRegion by regionsipkaWestern Bohemia (Karlovy Vary)

The area between Plzen, famous for beer as well as its giant engineering factory, spas, and Cheb where the Czech general Albrecht of Wallenstein was murdered, between Domazlice, the centre of the Chod region known for its etnographic festival, and Karlovy Vary, a spa town of world renown where fine china is also manufactured, is full of historic and natural contrasts. It offers opportunities for cure and rest in spa towns as lustrous as Marianske Lazne once frequented by Goethe, as well as in tiny spas resting in the calm embrace of the West Bohemian countryside. It is a region full of sites of historic battles, like Primda, Tachov and Domazlice, a region of powerfu monasteries in Tepla, Kladruby, Plasy and Manetin, which once owned large areas of land here. The resources generated by this huge property enabled Baroque builders to erect imposing, finely decorated monasteries whose treasures included well-stocked libraries. Apart from the majestic monastery complex, West Bohemia also boats Bohemia's smallest town - Utery, und Loket, the town under what was once a proud castle overlooking a meander of the river Ohre.
From the late Middle Ages, precious metals have been looked for and found in the Ohre river basin. The town of Jachymov in Krusne Hory, was founded in the early 16th century at the time of a silver rush. The heavy coins which the Slik family and then the King of Bohemia used to mint here from locally mined silver later lent their name to the Austrian thaler and American dollar.
When the significance of the silver mines declined, uranium deposits were found here, and the Curies discovered radioactivity in Jachymov ore from which they isolated radium, and West Bohemia thus gave birth to great scientific discovery of the modern age.
Karlovy Vary is the best known spa town, and most picturesque, in Western Bohemia. It received its name from Charles of Luxembourg who is said to have discovered steam rising from 12 springs while hunting in the area. He had a hunting lodge built there in 1358.
The healing powers of the water became famous and Karlovy Vary developed into a major health resort attracting emperors, kings and tsars, and many ordinary citizens, to take the waters.

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