Karlovy Vary region

31. 8. 2011

Being the western-most region of the Czech Republic, wedged between the former Western and Eastern Germany, the Karlovy Vary region offers excellent location opportunities to investors for whom quick and easy transport are the necessity.

The Karlovy Vary region is famous throughout the world for its spa industry. 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 also rich 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 as a sweet delicacy by spa guests from all corners of the world.

Geography

The Region of Karlovy Vary is situated in the west of the Czech Republic and arose by dividing the West Bohemian Region into the Plzeň and the Karlovy Vary Regions. It closes the territory of the country by the national border with Germany In the west and in the north and it neighbours with the Ústí nad Labem region in the east and with the Pilsen region in the south. 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 area of cohesion. The highest peak Klínovec (1,244 m), is located in the Karlovy Vary district as is the lowest peak in the region (320 m above sea level) on the Ohře River.

The Ohře River is the most important river of the Karlovy Vary region. Other important rivers are the Teplá, Rolava, Bystřice and Svatava. The most well known is the Teplá river flowing into Ohře in the form of springs enabling 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.

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. The Karlovy Vary region is one of the smallest regions; it takes up only 4.2 % of the area of the country.

Economy

The economy of the region has traditionally been oriented towards mining, energy generation, the chemical industry, glass and ceramics production, mechanical engineering and tourism. The region’s proximity to Germany has ensured advanced development in light industry after 1989 and the production of automotive and electronic parts is growing as is machinery production and other sectors. Trolleybuses from Skoda Ostrov are exported to many countries worldwide including the U.S.A.

There has been significant glass, ceramics and porcelain production concentrating around the city of Karlovy Vary. The region also has a specialized production, e.g. musical instruments.

Transportation

The R6 high-speed road linking Prague with the German border is being upgraded; it runs through the entire region and its three main towns – Karlovy Vary, Sokolov and Cheb. The Karlovy Vary airport has the status of an international airport although it currently operates flights only to and from one foreign destination. The region is rich in natural resources such as coal, china clay, and mineral water and thus the economy of the region is traditionally oriented towards mining, processing industries and energy generation. One important source of revenue comes from tourism – thanks to its mineral springs the region has several world-famous spas. The region also offers a wide range of other tourist, leisure, cultural and sports activities, including some of the Czech Republic’s best golf courses.

Human resources

Unemployment is below the national average but there are places of high unemployment, especially in the district of Sokolov. Unemployment is fuelled by layoffs in mining and energy generation and restructuring in manufacturing sectors. Redundant staff from these sectors may by quickly retrained for new manufacturing. Investors will also be able to attract labor from the neighboring region of Usti nad Labem which has been suffering from very high unemployment. A new private university which offers education in business and law was set up in Karlovy Vary in 2000. The region has a number of higher tertiary vocational schools, secondary technical schools and vocational training centers. There is a number of specialized schools offering education in ceramics, porcelain as well as hotel management and catering.

Cross-border cooperation

Trojmezí (three borders), an area where Bavaria, Thuringia/ Saxony and Bohemia (the Karlovy Vary region and most of the Pilsen region) all meet, boasts a common history spanning centuries. Until after World War II, when the Czech border was sealed, this common living and economic space in the focal point of Europe was characterized by close social and economic ties and contacts. This cooperation was resumed after the unification of the two German states and the opening of the borders with the country''s East European neighbours. In 1991 three working associations of the Egrensis Euroregion were founded. On February 3rd, 1993, these associations were united on the basis of a joint agreement. Today the Egrensis Euroregion covers an area of approximately 17,000 sq km and is inhabited by 2 million people. A joint presidium, consisting of three representatives of the presidia of the working associations (based in Cheb, Marktredwitz and Plauen), is entrusted with setting the main objectives of the Euroregion''s activities.

Culture

Karlovy Vary was 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.

In connection with the spa travel trade, there is a sufficient offer of cultural facilities and memorial zones within the Karlovy Vary region. 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.

Region`s website

Based on the information from the Czech Statistical Office and the official portal of the Karlovy Vary Region.