Mariánské Lázně

Mariánské Lázně

The spa town of Mariánské Lázně lies in the Southern part of a Nature Reserve Slavkovský Forest at an altitude of 630 metres above sea level, with 15,000 inhabitants. Its history-unlike other towns- does not date back to the late past. Local springs were known already in the 16th century but only at the beginning of the 19th century they began to be intensively developed. This was thanks to dr. J. J. Nehr who was the first one to analyse chemical composition of the springs but especially thanks to an Abbot of Teplá Monastery, K. Reitenberger who initiated the establishment of the settlement and supported its development. The first spa house was built in 1808. The town was built according to a well-thought-out plan of architect Václav Skalník who established a large English park. In 1866 Mariánské Lázně has been declared a town and more and more guests were using the spa springs. We can see here the traces of some significant European personalities such as the English king Edward VII, famous poets and composers of that time. Our first two presidents T. G. Masaryk and E. Beneš also liked to visit this spa.

Mariánské Lázně reached its highest development at the end of the 19th and at the beginning of the 20th century. Houses and spa buildings in a historicist style were surrounded by parks. Spa colonnade comes from the second half of the 19th century. We should also mention the churches: Neo-Byzantine Catholic Church of the Assumption of the Virgin, Anglican and Russian Orthodox Church of St. Vladimir. The Jewish synagogue was destroyed by the Nazis during the “crystal night” in 1938. Empty space where the synagogue originally lay is now piously maintained.

In the thirties of the last century the same history as in other border towns with the German population majority was as well repeated in Mariánské Lázně: Munich Agreement, land occupation, fanatic belief of the local inhabitants in Adolf Hitler. The end of World War II had hard consequences for the local Germans. They had to leave. After 1945 new residents came to the town and its life gradually revived.

Nowadays, Mariánské Lázně is an important and beautiful town in the middle of the parks with a remarkable “Singing Fountain”. Since 1992 Mariánské Lázně is an urban protected area.

After World War II many Protestants from the whole Czechoslovakia, but also reimmigrants from Silesian Husinec and Polish Zelow came to Mariánské Lázně. On 1st July 1947 a congregation was established here, its first minister and later a Senior became dr. Jiří Otter. The Protestant repatriots from Silesia established a live preaching station in Tři Sekery, the repatriots from Zelow settled in Teplá where an independent congregation was as well established in 1952.

The Evangelical Church of Czech Brethren (ECCB) took over the church after the German Evangelical Church as well as a Neo-Classicist rectory from 1888. In 1857 an interesting Jesus Church was built in a Neo-Romanesque style and its construction was supported (and later the church was also owned) by the German king Frederick William IV. The side wall of the three-nave church is facing the street front. It does not have a tower, just a little bell tower. Inside we will be impressed by a picture of blessing Jesus Christ with a chalice in his left hand. An author of the picture which is situated in the front above the Lord’s table is Jan Bochenek who was born in Hlučín. The stained-glass windows make the interior of a church very impressive. Their common motive (in connection with spa) is water. They represent biblical stories: dialogue of Jesus Christ with Nicodemus (John’s Gospel 3,1-15) and with a lady from Samara (John 4, 5-29), the picture on the last stained-window represents a story of recovery near a pond Bethesda (John 5, 1-9).

Both congregation buildings are carefully maintained. In the year of 2007 the congregation members together with numerous domestic and foreign guests commemorated with gratitude 150 years since the building of Jesus Church which serves the believers until now.