In October 2012, The Malvern Twinning Association was about to complete a deal with Mariánské Lazne in the Czech Republic to help promote the culture of each town. Similar to Malvern, the town is known for its history as a spa town as it has more than 160 springs, 50 of which are directly in the town. It is also surrounded by green mountains which are pefect for walks, like the Malvern Hills. It is also close to Graffenberg, where Vincent Priessnitz began working on hydrotherapy treaments. Could this have been inspiration for Dr James Wilson and his water cure?
The town itself is around 200 years old. Although many habitants lived in the area beforehand, with the first written records going back to 1273 and the first mention of the springs appearing in 1341. The modern town was founded by Tepla abbots, who slowly turned the valley into a countryside town. As the town became a popular spa site it started getting around 20,000 visitors every year. After World War II it was sealed off from foreign visitors until democracy returned in 1989 and it was restored to its origional character.
Apart from its beautiful walks, parks and springs around the town, Marianske Lazne has many other attractions, the most popular of which are:
- Hlavni kolonada, with a length of 180 metres it is the longest spa colonnade in the Czech Republic. Known for its shops, springs and events, it was able to gain the status of being a national cultural monument in 2010.
- Zpivajici fontana, also known as the “singing fountain” sits right next to Hlavni kolonada in the town centre. Throughout the day the fountain will play songs at every odd hour starting from 7am and finishing at 9pm. The fountain (which is controlled by a computer) uses coloured lighting and different spray combinations throughout the day and it has rightly become one of the most interesting points in the town.
- Royal Golf Club, first opened by King Edward VII in 1905, is the second oldest club in the Czech Republic. The course itself goes uphill about 700 metres above sea level and has hosted many championships in the past including the St Andrews Trophy. In 2003, Queen Elizabeth II granted the golf club royal patronage.