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Town history

One of the first to record the oldest Karlovy Vary legend about the discovery of the geyser known as the Sprudel by Charles IV was the renaissance physician Dr Fabian Sommer, a native of Karlovy Vary. In his book on the use of Karlovy Vary's waters from 1571, he relates the story thus:

It is said that Charles IV once went hunting in the woods, in the hilly areas and valleys where now the hot springs do bubble up. The woods in this place were full of game. During the hunt, one of the hounds started to run after an animal.

Karel IV.

Charles IV.

Whilst following it, the hound fell into a pool where hot water does now burst from the hound, believing it to have been wounded by the animal it had been chasing. The marvel which they saw amazed them greatly. They stepped closer, pulled the hound from the pool, and then tasted of the hot water which had so distressed the hound.

The entire event was reported to the Emperor Charles IV, who then went in large company himself to marvel at this singular wonder of nature. In the presence of his physicians, the wise ruler said that such hot water may drive off many grave ailments, and that it was beneficial and invigorating. Then he himself used the water (it is said that he had an afflicted leg), and sensed assuagement and improvement. The ruler was overjoyed at this, and soon gave orders that the whole place be settled, and that around the springs, houses be built.

The place where the Emperor used that water was, according to information, in that place where once stood the municipal bath and where the guildhall now stands. At that place the spring wells up whose waters do not burst forth excessively, and are but warm. It is related that in this place, many years ago, a seat was cut into the rock on which the ruler sat, and wherefore it was named the Seat of the Emperor Charles. And yet this place is no longer to be found, and on it the guildhall has been built.

Jelení skok

View of Karlovy Vary

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