The Region of Karlovy Vary is famous throughout the world for its spa industry. Within the region, there is not only the best known spa town in the country – Karlovy Vary - but also Mariánské Lázně, Františkovy Lázně, Lázně Kynžvart and Jáchymov. The region is not only rich in curative springs but also in natural mineral waters, of which Mattoni is the most well known. Within the context of the spa industry, there are the well known spa wafers, which are adored by the locals as a sweet delicacy and particularly by spa guests from all corners of the world. In addition, Karlovy Vary was also made famous due to the Becher herbal liquor and the artworks created by the glassmakers from the Moser company. The nearby town of Chodov became famous through rose porcelain which has been exported to most countries in the world. In terms of cultural events, it is the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival which generates meetings of domestic and foreign film makers.
The Region of Karlovy Vary is situated in the west of the Czech Republic and arose by dividing the West Bohemia Region into the Plzeň and the Karlovy Vary Regions. In the west and in the north it closes the territory of the country by the national border with Germany, in the east, it neighbours with the Ústí nad Labem region and in the south, with the Plzeň Region. The area of the region is 3,314 km2, which is 4.25% of the total area of the Czech Republic. 43.1 % of the regional area is covered by forests.
Together with the Ústí nad Labem region, it forms the so called NUTS 2, an area of cohesion. Across the territory of the two regions, along the national border is where Krušné hory (Ore Mountains) is situated. Klínovec, the highest peak (1,244 m), is located in the Karlovy Vary district, the same as the lowest peak in the region (320 m above sea level) which can be found on the Ohře River at the border of the region.
The Ohře River is the most important river of the Karlovy Vary region and the whole area falls into the river catchment. Other important rivers are the Teplá, Rolava, Bystřice and Svatava. Of these, the most well known is the Teplá, which flows into the Ohře in the form of springs which enable the origination of a variety of aragonite known as thermal tuff and “hrachovec” tuff, both of them separated from the hot Karlovy Vary springs, the water of which bears many mineral substances and gases, primarily carbon dioxide.
Crafts and souvenirs are made of larger pieces, as are paperweights and ashtrays. Box covers are lined with the material, pendants are made from it and it is probably the aragonite roses that are most popular. To mention the other natural resources, then the most important are the deposits of brown coal in the Sokolov district and the ceramic clays that deserve credit for the large number of porcelain plant pots across the entire region. However, it is the mineral and curative water deposits found across the region, that have contributed to the origin of the mentioned spa towns, which have made it world-famous.
The region is formed by three districts – Cheb, Karlovy Vary and Sokolov- and there are 132 towns and villages in total that are further broken down into 519 districts. Considering the area, the Karlovy Vary region is one of the smallest regions; it takes up only 4.2% of the area of the country. The most extensive district is the district of Karlovy Vary (49% of the regional area) which has the largest number of towns and villages (55). The largest proportion of the region’s inhabitants lives here (39.7%). The districts of Sokolov and Cheb compare well in terms of the number of municipalities and the area.
There are 30 towns in total in the region; the majority of which are situated in the district of Karlovy Vary (11), where 96,078 people were living at 31-12-2006. 74,144 inhabitants lived in 10 towns in the Sokolov district and in 9 towns in the district of Cheb there were 76,661 inhabitants. To 31-12-2006, 304,602 inhabitants lived in the towns and villages of the Karlovy Vary region, which accounts for 3% of the total inhabitants of the Czech Republic. The Karlovy Vary district is the most populated, the population of which was 120,797 as at 31-12-2005, of which 51.3% (62,004) were females.
In terms of the absolute number of newborns (3,216) and deaths (2,976), this region is in the last place in the country. However, if the number of newborns from 1,000 inhabitants (10.5) is compared, then the Karlovy Vary region is in 4th place in the country. However, the number of deaths out of 1,000 inhabitants (9.8 persons) puts the Karlovy Vary region into 2nd place, immediately behind the Liberec region. In 2006, a total of 3,476 people moved into the Karlovy Vary region while 3,373 persons moved out of it. Thus the balance remained positive (103 persons). In 2006, the total increase was also positive with 328 persons and thus the region is the 11th position in the country.
The environment of the Karlovy Vary region is largely varied. Despite the largest share of wood coverage rate (50.7%), the situation in the Sokolov district is the poorest. This is not only due to brown coal being mined there but also due to several important industrial plants, such as the Vřesová power plant, one of the largest sources of pollution in the country. From all the contamination (52,735 tonnes) produced in the region of Karlovy Vary in 2006, 87.5 % falls on this district. It is due to these high values that this region is one of the largest atmospheric pollution producers together with the regions of Ústí nad Labem and Moravia-Silesia. On the other hand, the Karlovy Vary region ranks second behind the Capital City of Prague with the number of inhabitants proportionally connected to public sewerage (91.6%) and the share of cleaned sewage (99.6%) as well.
The rate of registered unemployment at the end of 2006 was 9.20% (12th place in the country) and compared to 2005 it had dropped by 1.08 percentage points. The lowest rate of unemployment was in the district of Cheb (7.25%) in the district of Karlovy Vary (9.00%) and Sokolov (11.46%). In 2006, there were 16,221 unplaced job applicants (1,796 less than 2005) for available work places. The most applicants were in the district of Karlovy Vary (6,400 persons), in the district of Sokolov (5,941) and the least in the district of Cheb (3,880 persons).
Most highly represented among the unemployed were those candidates with a basic education (7,712 persons, i.e. 47.5%) and skilled workmen (3,513 persons, i.e. 32.8%). Considering the age of the unemployed, the most represented were the ages of 50-54 years (14.4%) and the age of 20-24 years (13%). The average age of candidates (38.8 years) increased compared to the previous year by 0.6 years.
Within the region, a total of 51 building companies were operating with the minimum proportion of building work according to supplier contracts. Despite that, 638 apartments were completed in 2006, i.e. 511 less than in 2005. Within the region the most apartments per 1,000 inhabitants were completed in the district of Karlovy Vary (3.5 apartments) and the least in the district of Sokolov (0.6 apartments).
The travel trade in the region of Karlovy Vary is one of the most significant industries. It is the spa trade that has made this region a destination for domestic and foreign visitors. In 2006, 669,905 guests visited the region and each stayed an average of 7.5 days. For the Czech Republic, it was the largest number of days (4.3 days). If the number of guests is recalculated to 1,000 inhabitants of the region, the resulting number is 2,199.5 guests; the second highest value behind the Capital City of Prague which traditionally holds best position for the travel trade in this country. The share of foreigners visiting this region last year is 71.6% and together with the Capital City, the region of Karlovy Vary was the only region showing the visiting rate of guests from abroad higher than those from inside the country. The number of nights spent per 1,000 inhabitants (14,201 guests) means this region holds the first place in the country (4,037.1 guests).
In connection with the spa travel trade, there is a sufficient offer of cultural facilities and memorial zones within the Karlovy Vary region. In total, there are 11 theatres, 26 cinemas and more than 60 museums and galleries. An offer of the spa symphonic orchestras and several festivals are added. The most popular is the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival. To give some other examples of cultural events, there is the Loket Cultural Summer, the Mariánské Lázně Chopin Festival and the Canoe Mattoni.
Other information and events are included in the Brief Description of the Karlovy Vary Region
(Prepared in accordance with the Karlovy Vary Region Year Book 2007, containing data for 2006)