The settlement called Vary (Boiling Water) was founded around 1350. Town owes its present name the Roman Emperor Charles IV (1355-1378), who stayed here in 1370 and gave the town its charter. Name of Karlovy Vary is a combination of the Slavic name of the emperor and the name of hot springs. For over two hundred years the village consisted of little more than a hundred buildings, but in the mid-seventeenth century, after the Thirty Years War, became fashionable among the aristocracy and began to expand. The final appearance of Carlsbad received in the late nineteenth century. In the nineteenth century the town began to grow beyond the narrow valley of the river Warm and marched along with the buildings on the slopes of the Erzgebirge mountains. Most of the current building dates from this period. Number of residents and visitors to the resort has increased considerably in 1870-1871 when he was brought to Karlovy Vary turn. Terraced buildings - health resort lies at altitudes ranging from 370 to 644 m above sea level gives it a distinctive landscape. Gothic and Renaissance architecture was completely destroyed by fire in 1604. Rebuilt in baroque style city was burned again in 1759, remained only the church of Mary Magdalene. At the turn of the century theater was built, the post office, some spas and hotels. Today the restored - while maintaining the Art Nouveau style, delight with their beauty.
The Czech Republic is a cool little landlocked country south of Germany and Poland, with a national addiction to pork and beer. Potatos, cabbage, and dumplings are close behind them, and they also have this great bar food called "utopenec." It means "a drowned man," it's pickled sausage with onions, perfect with some dark wheat bread and beer. The Czech bread is legendary, like a meal all by itself.Czechoslovakia first became a sovereign state in 1918 when it declared independence from the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The state of Czechoslovakia lasted until the "Velvet Divorce" of 1993, which created Slovakia and the Czech Republic.It was occupied by Germany in WWII but escaped major damage, unlike most other European cities. The nation's capital, Prague, retains some of Europe's most beautiful Baroque architecture as well as one of the largest medieval castle complexes still standing. The President of the Czech Republic has his offices in the Prague Castle even today.There was a coup d'etat in 1948 and Czechoslovakia fell under Soviet rule. For fifty years Czechoslovakia was a Socialist state under the USSR, subject to censorship, forced atheism and even the arrest of jazz musicians!In 1989, communist police violently squashed a pro-democracy demonstration and pissed everybody off so bad that a revolution erupted over it, finally ending the Communist rule.The next twenty years saw rapid economic growth and westernization. Today in Prague you can eat at McDonald's or KFC, shop for snowboarding boots and go see a punk rock show.The Czech Republic took over the presidency of the European Union in January 2009. This instantly created lots of political drama because the President of the Czech Republic, Vaclav Klaus, is a renowned Euroskeptic.We anxiously await the outcome of "President Klaus vs. the Lisbon Treaty", a world heavywieght fight sceduled for spring 2009.Text by Steve Smith.