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As the most famous Czech spa, Carlsbad is today, just like in the past, a favourite destination for both domestic and foreign tourists. Each year Carlsbad holds its International Film Festival, which attracts thousands of Czech and foreign cultural personalities and representatives from political, economic and diplomatic spheres.
The origin and development of Carlsbad has always been inseparably linked to the health-giving properties of its hot mineral springs, which have made their mark on the history, architecture, economy and spirit of the city.
According to legend the springs were discovered in the middle of the 14th century by the Czech king Charles IV while hunting deer. The establishment of a spa town at the confluence of the Ohře and Teplá rivers under the reign of Charles IV was doubtlessly not such an accidental and romantic affair as the old myth relates, but rather a logical developmental step for a place that had been known for so long for its therapeutic traditions.
The precise date on which the town of Carlsbad was established is not known. A permanent settlement close to the Thermal Spring has been dated to around 1349, while the written history of this spa town begins around 1370, when Charles IV granted the existing settlement its freedoms and rights.
Until the end of the 17th century Carlsbad retained its Gothic appearance, with its city gates and the tightly packed buildings around the Thermal Spring. During the 18th century the city and its fame blossomed over a period of several decades. In 1707 emperor Josef I confirmed all Carlsbad's privileges and named it a royal free city. In the first half of the 18th century Carlsbad was highly favoured by the Habsburgs, in particular by empress Maria Theresia. The town's loyalty to the Viennese court was positively reflected in financial subsidies for construction and administration.
The lifetime work of Dr. David Becher, the most worthy of the city's physicians, was of fundamental importance for the modernisation of Carlsbad balneology. He introduced a series of new therapeutic methods and also contributed to the city's development.
Carlsbad is a city of colonnades, with the most well known being the Thermal Colonnade, which has altered its architectonic appearance several times over the years. The Mill, Market and Orchard Colonnades are also famous.

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