Western Bohemia: A Spa Town & an Artwork of European Significance
Karlovy Vary owes its name to its founder, Charles IV. According to a legend, he discovered a healing spring here in the 14th century. This spa town is not only famous for its miraculous springs, of which there are about a dozen directly in the city, but it is also known for the beautiful nature around it. The town towers overthe surrounding evergreen forests like a luxurious cake with whipped cream. This apt comparison was coined by the famous Swiss architect, Le Corbusier, who was particularly charmed by the city. As an architectural complex, the city was built in the Romantic Revival style, accented by several gems of Art Nouveau. The construction of these buildings corresponds to the turn of the 19th and 20th century when this coquettish town saw its greatest expansion. The healing cures mostly consist of drinking water from the springs rich in various minerals. We will also head for the colonnades, where the primary healing springs are, and you will not miss the chance to taste their magical waters!
The chateau in Bečov nad Teplou is located approximately 20 kilometers from the famous Carlsbad (Karlovy Vary) spa. It contains an artefact of priceless value, considered the second most important in the country after the Czech coronation jewels. A Romanesque reliquary of St. Maurus from the beginning of the 13th century, its recently completed restoration took thirteen years. There are only two other reliquaries of comparable value in the whole of Europe.
The actual casket is carved from walnut wood, however it’s the outer decoration that particularly attracts viewers. It is entirely covered in gold and silver, with gilded sculptures of Jesus and the apostles, delicately carved reliefs depicting scenes from the New Testament, enameled decorations, antique gems with miniature reliefs adorned with filigree, as well as several hundred finely cut gems and spheres from rock crystal.
Until the end of WWII, this exceptional example of Romanesque goldsmith work belonged to the Dukes of Beaufort, members of Belgian aristocracy that resided in the Bečov chateau. Because of their collaboration with the Nazi regime, the family was forced to quickly leave the country at the end of the war and hid the reliquary inside a church. This set forth an incredible sequence of events regarding the ‘lost’ reliquary, including an attempt of the original owners to export it from then Communist Czechoslovakia. With only a few clues, the secret service and experts were able to locate the ‘mystery item’ and halt its export.
Tours are available from April through October.
The price of the tour includes the cost of transportation and guide services. We calculated the listed basic price for transportation using a luxury minivan for the minimal duration of the tour. Please add 15 € or $20 for every additional hour.
|Karlovy Vary, Bečov nad Teplou – minimal duration = 10 hours / minivan*|
|Minivan 1-3 people + guide||335 € = $405|
|Minivan 4-7 people + guide||350 € = $425|
*Alternate modes of transportation are available for this tour by train or bus. The price is considerably lower than using the minivan. We’ll be happy to provide you with a tailor-made calculation.
Why is there a surcharge for a longer tour? Occasionally the tour is prolonged in order to visit a particular monument or allow more free time. In any case, all of this depends on your desires.
Entries to the monuments form a rather small part of the overall cost of your trip. You will pay for them separately and directly. We will include information about entry costs in our e-mail communication.
IN THE FOLLOWING FORM, WE WILL BE ALSO ASKING YOU ABOUT:
Which of the above sights highlighted with a mark would you like to visit inside, beyond the scope of the basic walking tour? You will be asked to pay for entries to the sights directly on spot to their respective box offices.