Teplice is the oldest thermal resort in the Czech Republic, its exquisite architecture, uplifting cultural life, the romance of medieval castles and count's mansions fully confirm the unofficial name of the resort “Small Paris”. And if you remember that the city is spread in a picturesque valley surrounded by mountains, then there is no doubt that a vacation in Teplice will be a magnificent and unforgettable adventure!
The history of the city
During archaeological excavations in the territory of the modern resort of Teplice, ancient Celtic and ancient Roman household items were repeatedly found. This may indicate that the settlements in the resort area were still at the dawn of civilization. The first historically documented references to the city are found in the chronicles of the XII century. Thanks to the Queen of the Czech Republic, Jutta of Thuringia, who heard from advisers about the healing springs of Teplice, a Benedictine monastery with a hospital was built on one of the hills, where, by the way, its founder was buried over time.
In 1550, the Czech settlement, already known for its thermal healing waters, was visited by the Elector's wife with children and courtiers - Duchess Sibylla of Saxony. Since then, the settlement began to take on the appearance of a city. Stone houses were built, mansions of the nobility, who came here on vacation, as well as wooden hospitals and baths appeared. Due to the turbulent political situation in the world and the Hussite wars, a fortress was built in the city, the ruins of which are still visible.
By the 18th century, Teplice had become a well-known secular resort with elegant architecture of buildings in the style of classicism. In 1712, on his way to Russia, Emperor Peter I visited here, who is not tired of trying everything new and bringing his motherland to life. After visiting Teplice, the emperor thought about creating a similar thermal resort for himself and the courtiers in the Russian Empire. During the Seven Years' War between Prussia and Russia, Teplice became a health resort. Both Russian soldiers, and wounded Prussian soldiers, and the French and Austrians, who also participated in hostilities, were treated here.
At the beginning of the 19th century, in Teplice, a meeting of three rulers took place: the Russian Emperor Alexander I, the Prussian King Frederick William III and the Austrian Emperor Franz I. It signed an agreement between the three countries, which marked the beginning of the overthrow of the Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte. The resort of Teplice also entered the historical chronicles as a holiday destination for such famous personalities as the Austrian Empress Maria-Louis of Modena, the German poet Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and the German composer Ludwig van Beethoven. Teplice is also famous for visiting during the honeymoon of the royal couple: the Emperor of Austria Franz Joseph and his wife Elizabeth of Bavaria, better known under the house name Sisi.
Now the city of Teplice is not only the oldest, but also the most visited thermal resort in the Czech Republic. It is famous not only for its beautiful architecture and healing natural springs, but also rich in historical heritage. Since ancient times, famous people and aristocrats rested here, at one time Giacomo Casanova lived here and Frederic Chopin visited. Now the health properties of the resort are available to travelers from all over the world.
Attractions of the Teplice resort
The land of today's Teplice has become the haven of many legendary stories over its century. Bloody battles were going on in the fields of Teplice, castles on its hills collapsed under the pressure of Hussites, ancient monasteries were destroyed and rebelled again due to the dedication of monastic orders. On the territory of Teplice, a large number of medieval ruins and later fortresses have survived, which have survived in good condition to our time. The resort is rich in monuments of temple architecture of the XVI-XIX centuries. Guests of Teplice spa hotels always have something to do, because for lovers of history, monuments of architecture and mystical legends, there will be a lot of interesting things.
The main botanical garden of the resort was established in the 19th century on the initiative of Count Clary-Aldringen. Initially, the garden was intended for the cultivation of rare specimens of flora imported from tropical countries. Garden seedlings and flowers were bought by aristocrats to ennoble their mansions and plots. Also, the bouquets compiled here were sent directly for sale by flower girls on the streets, and delighted the eyes of local residents. Even in the winter months, pineapples bore fruit and cacti bloomed.
Now the botanical garden has slightly decreased in size, but retained its hothouses and greenhouses. Vacationers can stroll along flowering flower beds, admire the pagan Mexican statue of Hume, the patron saint of vegetation, and view wooden greenhouses decorated with elaborate carvings from all sides. Almost all greenhouses are available for visits, except for those where research and breeding is carried out. Tourists will be able to see rare conifers brought from the African savannah, cacti, tropical flowers, succulents, plants from the Andes and the high mountains of the Himalayas and much more.
Museum of Local Lore
The central museum of the Teplice resort is located inside the castle, bearing the same name and built in the 16th century in the Baroque style. The museum building is notable for the fact that earlier on the castle site stood a female abbey, built by Queen Judita. During the bloody Hussite wars, the abbey was destroyed to the ground. On its foundation is the castle, which has become the current museum. It is worth noting that the count's castle is itself a landmark. Museum visitors are offered a tour of the building with a tour of the chambers with preserved old decoration, a castle chapel, a courtyard and underground levels. In the lateral complexes posted a variety of thematic compositions. Here, archaeological finds, and objects of art, components of private collections, precious objects of the castle’s decor, a numismatic exhibition, a collection of ancient porcelain and, of course, rare photographs. Of particular interest to tourists is the art gallery. All paintings exhibited in it belonged to the former mistress of the castle and the wife of Count Clary-Aldringen, a native of St. Petersburg. The paintings mainly depict representatives of the Petersburg nobility and many famous personalities of that time.
8 km from the Teplice resort is the Duhcov Castle, which is definitely worth a visit on a free day. The history of this medieval building begins in the XIII century, when it was built by local feudal lords Grabishichi in order to protect their lands from warlike neighbors. Initially, Dukhtsov was a powerful border fortress, but several centuries later it was destroyed by enemies and another kind took up its restoration. At the place of the fortress, an elegant Renaissance palace first grew up, and after a couple of decades and with other owners, it turned into an exquisite Baroque building. This baroque version of the Duhtsov castle has survived to our time. The castle was built by the famous French architect Jean Baptiste Matei. The architect provided for the Waldstein family, who at that time owned the palace, both the manor house and a spacious courtyard, spacious outbuildings, a private hospital building and a walking park. Inside the castle was decorated with no less eminent masters. The sculptures were made by Brown, who became famous for his sculptural group on the Charles Bridge in Prague, and multi-colored frescoes were made by Rainer.
But tourists come here not only to explore the magnificent architecture of the castle, or listen to terrible stories about its turbulent past. The fact is that it was here that an unusual librarian lived, who served for more than 10 years Count Waldstein, chamberlain of the Emperor of Bohemia. And Giacomo Casanova himself, the heartthrob and lover of women known throughout Italy, was this custodian of books. The Italian knew the owner of the palace and gladly accepted his invitation to a troublesome position. Here Casanova, after a significant deterioration in her health condition, secluded herself for a quiet life and writing her memoirs. In the same castle he met his demise. One of the most visited exhibits of the castle is a bedroom, a room and a library with a recreated setting from the time of Giacomo Casanova.
The Dubravka Mountain rises above the Teplice resort, and on its top the ancient castle is clearly visible. The hill is covered with dense forest and reaches a height of 393 meters. Such a strategically advantageous place was chosen by one of the Hussite commanders - Jan Ilburk for the construction of the fortress. After it, many owned the castle, completing the construction, erecting towers and fortifying the walls. In the XV century, Dubravka castle was able to withstand the onslaught of any enemy, and its location on the mountain made it almost impregnable. But in the XVI century the fortress was destroyed to the ground by a banal fire. Nobody took up the restoration of the fortress, and now only picturesque ruins remain from the castle.
But next to them in 1884 a new palace was built, which also bears the name Dubravka in honor of its more belligerent predecessor. The owner of the current castle was already familiar to us, Prince Clary-Aldringen. He ordered the construction of a strong castle with towers decorated with red tiles, an impressive knight's hall and fortress walls, on which one could walk and admire the surrounding views. The construction was carried out by the then-famous architect Berdzhih Oman, who chose the neo-Gothic style for the new palace, corresponding to the trends of the romantic Middle Ages.
The Cistercian Monastery, often referred to simply as Osek, is a historical monument of the Czech Republic. It is located 10 kilometers from the Teplice resort and tourists can easily get to it by bicycle or sightseeing bus. The monastery is of interest for its ancient history and impressive architecture. It was built back in the XII century by the monastic order of the Cistercians and became the center of the village of that time. The monastery owned rich lands, in its courtyards there were many outbuildings and vegetable gardens. During times of unrest in the Czech Republic, the monastery more than once became a tidbit for the Swedes, then for the Hussites. But despite numerous captures, fires and destruction, it was invariably rebuilt by monks.
Now the monastery is a building made in the Romanesque style with baroque elements, introduced during the reconstruction by Italian architects. The temple is decorated with beautiful frescoes, stained-glass windows, stucco molding and sculptures in alcoves. At the altar stands a monumental music stand made in the Gothic style. Also inside the temple is an ancient organ, one of the largest in Europe. And the Gothic transitions of the monastery will lead you to a classic courtyard reserved for the cultivation of medicinal herbs and flower cultivation. The monastery, after many years, again became the property of the Order of the Cistercians and is a real ticket in the XVI-XVII centuries for tourists.
The Church of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross
In Teplice, quite a few religious buildings from the Middle Ages have survived. One of the most striking and impressive representatives without a doubt can be called a magnificent temple of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. Built near the Teplice castle in the 16th century, it is perfectly preserved to this day. Majestic, snow-white, with Gothic spiers and turrets, a toothed pediment and high windows, the temple resembles a fairytale castle. The temple, like the Teplice Palace, belonged to Wolf Wrzesowitz, who expressed wishes about the appearance of the future Protestant church. Now Orthodox services are held in the church, and visitors can see the building not only outside but also inside. Marble monuments of the 14th century have been preserved in the altar part, ancient frescoes adorn the walls, the tower still houses a 15th-century bell, and the tombstones are hidden by Gothic medieval slabs. By the way, the owner of the castle and the man who gave the impetus to the construction of the Holy Cross Church, Wolf Wrzesowitz, was buried with his family in an underground chapel.
Church of St. John the Baptist
The Church of St. John the Baptist was built in the 16th century on the site of an older religious building. Lightning fell into the high bell tower of the temple a couple of decades after construction, so the molten bells had to be replaced. This was for the better, because Mikulas Lion worked on the new bell tower. The bells cast by him, at least two of them, are still preserved: one in the bell tower of the church of St. John the Baptist, and the second in Prague. In the 18th century, the facade was reconstructed and decorated with baroque moldings. The furniture in the altar aisle is original, created in the 17th century. All the internal paintings, frescoes and the image of St. John the Baptist were made by famous Czech masters - Peter Brandl and Vaclav Rainer. Under the temple there is a crypt in which representatives of the Czech aristocracy found repose. In the crypt are Gothic tombs of the genus Counts Klari-Aldringen and Vkhinsky. Now visitors are allowed into the temple, services are held, and thanks to the excellent acoustics of the building, symphony concerts are often held.
Church of St. Bartholomew
At the highest point of the Teplice resort stands the silhouette of the church of St. Bartholomew. The high tower of the church is visible from afar and is clearly visible from all viewing platforms. The gloomy Lutheran church, built of dark stone, was erected in the XIX century under the auspices of the King of Prussia - Friedrich Wilhelm IV. The court architect Friedrich August Stüler, better known for erecting the building of the National Berlin Gallery, worked on the architectural design for the church. The church was built in the style of an early Christian basilica interspersed with Romanesque motifs. Now the church of St. Bartholomew impresses tourists with its monumental architecture, massive columns supporting the vault, and a sharp spire, as in Gothic castles. Also, concerts of symphonic music are often held here thanks to good internal acoustics.
Church of the Most Sacred Heart of Our Lord
The youngest church in the Teplice resort is the Catholic Church of the Most Sacred Heart of Our Lord, also often called the Red Church for the shade of its walls. The temple was erected in the 19th century and lined with red ceramic tiles, which looked advantageous against the backdrop of the picturesque nature of the city and the bronze roofs of the towers. The main bell tower of the temple has a height of 47 meters and emphasizes the neo-Gothic style of the entire building. According to the architectural design of Gustav Hirsch, the church was built in the form of a basilica with three naves, graceful chapels, gabled roofs and Gothic arched vaults. An organ is installed inside, the walls are decorated with frescoes, some parts of the decoration, for example, sculptures and an altar, belong to an earlier time and are taken from older chapels. The church is active and both believers and visitors who want to get acquainted with the history of the construction of the church are welcome here.
On Sandy Mountain, an astronomical observatory stands outside the city, and a little further on there is a planetarium equipped with modern equipment that makes it possible to observe the stars and the movement of planets across the sky. The observatory has two opening domes and a powerful telescope designed to observe both night and day. Visitors can look at the surface of the Sun, see sunspots in the photosphere, admire the rings of Jupiter and the colorful rings of Saturn, trace the movement of Venus and examine in detail the surface of the Moon. No less clearly visible in the telescope are nebulae, star clusters and binary stars shining in the sky. A visit to the observatory and planetarium will be interesting for both adults and children. You only need to know the observatory's work schedule in advance, since it is not accessible to visitors every day.
Festivals and events in Teplice
During the winter holidays and New Year's celebrations celebrated in the city on a grand scale, not only Christmas markets and festivities take place, but also the international festival-contest "Winter's Tale". Within its framework, children compete, presenting jury vocal and choreographic performances. Everyone is invited to concerts.
The last April weekend in Teplice is celebrated with the opening of the holiday season. Guests of the event will enjoy concerts, a picnic, contests, and in the evening, colorful fireworks. In early May, Teplice hosts one of the stages of the international festival of youth creativity “Blooming Czech Republic”. In total, the event lasts about a week and within its framework the contestants visit different cities of the Czech Republic and Germany: Prague, Teplice, Berlin. Spectators of the festival are waiting for vocal, choreographic and instrumental numbers. The festival ends with a gala concert with colorful fireworks.
In the summer, children and youth creative groups, as well as novice artists, come to the resort to take part in music festivals and exhibitions. Arrival dates change every year, but usually the main concerts on the main stages of Teplice take place in mid-June.
Also in the summer, tourists and vacationers are waiting for art galleries, exhibition compositions, thematic festivals, for example, “Mitte Europa”, fairs and competitions with mass picnics in the fresh air. In the theater and the Philharmonic, as well as in the House of Culture, performances and concerts are held all summer, for example, dedicated to Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The botanical garden hosts a variety of vibrant and informative events, as well as concerts with live music in the open air and surrounded by flowers. In the temples - evenings of organ music. The main thing is to follow the program, what can help at the hotel reception.
In the autumn months, the season of classical and symphonic concerts begins in Teplice. Musical festivals dedicated to the music of Ludwig van Beethoven or other famous composers are held in theaters, parks, and temples with the organ. As part of the concert events, well-known opera performers and musicians, as well as beginning creative groups.
Back in September-November, sporting events and marathons are held. In September, international competitions and mountain biking start around the resort. In October, a mass race is held around Dubravka Mountain, ending with festivities and a picnic in the fresh air.
What to bring from Teplice
Vacation at health resort Teplice, coming to an end soon? In addition to vivid photos and positive emotions, do you want to bring home something with you as a souvenir? Then pay attention to the following souvenir ideas:
Mineral healing water. The Czech Teplice resort is rich in natural mineral springs with a healthy chemical composition of the hydrocarbon type. Such water helps get rid of allergies, improves tissue respiration, promotes tissue healing and gout treatment. In addition, water from Teplice springs has a beneficial effect on the circulatory system and improves the overall tone of the body. You can buy bottled water from the springs in large stores or in shops at spa hotels. Usually, with proper packaging, healing water retains its beneficial properties for up to several months.
Natural cosmetics. Cosmetic sets based on medicinal herbs, flowers, natural ingredients with the addition of mineral water springs and healing mud of the Teplice resort are in great demand.
Ceramic products. Showcases of souvenir shops of the Teplice resort are full of ceramics. Czech services have long been considered quality, durable and reliable. In addition, they are distinguished by pleasant colors and bright traditional patterns. So you can bring painted plates with cups, sets for tea ceremonies, decorated mirrors and small hand mirrors, figurines and even collectible dolls from leisure!
Herbal harvest. The souvenir shops of Teplice have a special atmosphere of antiquity. Packed with canvas bags of flowers with herbs and whole bunches of medicinal stems hanging from the ceiling beams, immediately return the tourist in time for a couple of centuries.As an interesting and at the same time useful souvenir, you can buy such a herbal collection. The seller should find out the composition, as there are herbs that help with certain diseases, and there are harvests with a general strengthening effect or "sleeping pill" effect. In addition, medicinal herbs and medicinal flowers produce fragrant and delicious tea.
Czech waffles. While relaxing in Teplice, you must definitely try delicious airy waffles with different fillings. And to extend the pleasure of tasting and share the Czech taste of sweets with friends, you can purchase a gift set of waffles with you on your way home.
Teplice beer. The city makes local beer according to old recipes. This makes the taste of beer a little specific, spicy, but very pleasant. Connoisseurs of the drink will be happy to receive a souvenir in the form of a unique bottle of beer brought from the Teplice resort.
How to get to the resort
Teplice has a convenient transport interchange, despite the fact that it does not have an airport. It is located only 94 kilometers from Prague, so in a few hours you can reach the place of rest by bus, taxi or transfer. A regular bus is an excellent option for active tourists who wish to explore not only the sights of the resort, but also visit the Czech capital as part of their trip. Teplice is also located near the railway station, so getting to it from major Czech cities is not difficult. For example, if a tourist arrives in Prague, then it will be enough to catch a direct train to the Teplice resort and in an hour and a half you can be there.