Czech spa towns submit bid for UNESCO status under Great Spas of Europe project
Spa colonnade in Karlovy Vary

Czech spa towns submit bid for UNESCO status under Great Spas of Europe project

The famed Czech spa towns of Karlovy Vary, Mariánské Lázně, and Františkovy Lázně have submitted an application for UNESCO World Heritage Site status this month in the Great Spas of Europe project.

The project is a joint bid between 11 spa towns across the continent hoping for UNESCO inclusion, and also include locales in Germany (Bad Ems, Baden-Baden and Bad Kissingen), Austria (Baden bei Wien), Italy (Montecatini Terme), France (Vichy), Belgium (Spa), and the United Kingdom (the City of Bath).

While spa towns that treated ailments using mineral waters and other techniques in the days before modern medicine were once a mainstay throughout Europe, few exist today in their original form.

The Great Spas of Europe project hopes to encourage their tradition under UNESCO World Heritage Site status.

The three Czech towns are considered among the most famous in Europe, and to this day remain popular tourist destinations.

Currently, there are 12 cities throughout the Czech Republic that contain UNESCO World Heritage sites – – but the spa towns are not among them.

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The project has taken eight years of collaboration between the various cities included in the project, and resulted in a nearly-1,500 page document that has been officially submitted to the UNESCO board this month.

Their decision won’t be immediate, however. Whether the spa towns make the grade will first be assessed by UNESCO advisor ICOMOS (the International Council on Monuments and Sites) before being passed on for approval.

Should that happen, a final decision on their status from UNESCO is expected at the 44th annual session of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee in mid-2020.

Lucas Němec

Prague-based author with two decades experience living in and writing about the Czech Republic for local and international sites and publications. Nakládaný hermelín enthusiast and frequent Club-Mate drinker.

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