The Karlovarský Region is in particular famous for its spas. There is not only one of the CR’s most famous spa Karlovy Vary, but also Mariánské Lázně, Františkovy Lázně, Lázně Kynžvart, and Jáchymov in the Region. The spa in Kyselka is not currently in operation. Along with healing springs, the Region is rich with its natural mineral waters of which Mattoni is the most famous one. In connection with spa industry what is also very popular are the Carlsbad spa wafers, a sweet adored not only by local inhabitants but mainly by spa guests from all over the world. The town of Karlovy Vary is also famous for its Becherovka herbal liqueur and the art of glassmakers from the Moser Company. The town of Chodov was made famous by peach-blow exported to the whole world. As for culture, it is mainly the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival where domestic and foreign creators meet.
The Karlovarský Region is located in the west of the Czech Republic and was established by the split of the Západočeský Region to form the Karlovarský Region and the Plzeňský Region. In the north and in the west it is the state border with Germany, in the east it neighbours with the Ústecký Region and in the south with the Plzeňský Region. Along with the Ústecký Region it forms the Severozápad Cohesion Region. The Krušné hory mountains are stretching along the state border across the two regions. The highest point is Klínovec (altitude 1 244 m) in the Karlovy Vary District as well as the lowest point of the Region (altitude 320 m), which is on the Ohře River on the border of the Region. The Ohře River is also the most important river in the Karlovarský Region and the whole area belongs to its basin.
Other important rivers are: Teplá, Rolava, Bystřice, and Svatava. The most popular of these is the Teplá River, which flows into the Ohře River in Karlovy Vary and runs through the valley Karlovy Vary where most of the hot springs rise to the surface. These flow into the river and enable the formation of a kind of aragonite known as sinter and pisolite, both precipitated from hot Karlovy Vary springs for centuries. Their water contains a lot of dissolved minerals and gases (mainly carbon dioxide). Works of art and souvenirs, tasteful paperweights, and ashtrays are made from the bigger pieces, smaller ones are also garnished into box covers and probably the most popular are sinter roses. Among other natural resources the most important are reserves of brown coal in the area of Sokolov and further ceramic clays that contributed to a high number of porcelain manufactures almost all over the Region. However, the Karlovarský Region is the most famous all over the world for its mineral and healing waters, which enabled the origin of the aforementioned spas.
The Region is formed by 3 districts – the Cheb District, the Karlovy Vary District, and the Sokolov District with 134 municipalities in total that are further divided into 527 parts. With its area (3 310 km2) the Karlovarský Region is one of the smallest; it takes only 4.2 % of the whole territory of the CR. The largest district is the Karlovarský District (46 % of the Region’s area) with the biggest number of municipalities (56) and the biggest share of inhabitants living in the Region (39.0 %). The Sokolov District and the Cheb District are comparable as for their number of municipalities and area. In total, there are 38 towns in the Region. In towns of the Karlovy Vary District 94 356 inhabitants lived as at 31 December 2016; in the Sokolov District it was 73 134 inhabitants and in the Cheb District 76 738 inhabitants. As at 31 December 2016, 296 749 inhabitants lived in municipalities of the Karlovarský Region, which was 2.8 % of the CR’s population. The most populated is the Karlovarský District, where 115 785 inhabitants lived in total, of which 50.9 % (58 883) were women.
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.
The Region is the last one in the CR as forits number of births (2 815) and deaths (3 167). When we compare the number of births per 1 000 population (9.5), the Karlovarský Region is the last one of the regions of the CR, too. With the number of deaths per 1 000 population (10.7) the Karlovarský Region shares the 10th place together with the Plzeňský Region. In 2016, 3 052 persons moved into the Karlovarský Region and 3 755 moved out of the Region, the balance hence being negative (703 persons). The total population change in the Karlovarský Region was negative, too (1 055 persons).
The share of unemployed persons (the share of available job applicants aged 15-64 years in the whole population of the same age) was 5.45 % in the Karlovarský Region. The lowest share of unemployed persons was in the Cheb District (3.50 %) followed by the Karlovy Vary District (5.46 %) and the Sokolov District (7.43 %). In 2016, there were 11 796 (by 3 100 less than in 2015) unemployed job applicants per 3 678 job vacancies. The Sokolov District had the most applicants (4 775 persons), followed by the Karlovy Vary District (4 667 persons), while the least were from the Cheb District (2 354 persons). The biggest proportion of the unemployed belonged to job applicants with primary education and no education (5 903 persons, i.e. 50.0 %) and secondary vocational education and secondary education without A-level examination (3 837 persons, i.e. 32.5 %). With regards to the age of the unemployed, the biggest proportion belonged to the 45-54 years age group (22.6 %), the 35-44 years age group (22.5 %), and the 25-34 years age group (19.9 %). The average age of job applicants (41.8 years) increased by 0.6 years compared to the previous year.
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.
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.
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.
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.
In total, 501 dwellings were completed in 2016, i.e. by 93 more than in 2015. When we survey the number of completed dwellings per 1 000 mid-year population, the highest value of this indicator is reported by the Karlovy Vary District (2.3 dwellings) and the lowest by the Sokolov District (1.0 dwellings).
In 2016, health care in the Karlovarský Region was provided by 5 hospitals and 1 287 doctors. In 2016, there were 92 pharmacies and dispensaries (incl. detached workplaces) in the Karlovarský Region.
One of the most important industries in the Karlovarský Region is tourism. The Region is the target destination for guests from the CR and abroad mainly due to its spas. In 2016, there were 948 871 guests in the Region. If we recalculate guests per 1 000 population of the Region, we get 3 191.4 guests. The share of foreigners, who visited the Karlovarský Region last year is 61.8 %. The Region is the number one in the CR in the number of overnight stays per 1 000 population (16 300.6 guests). In connection with the spa tourism there is an adequate amount of cultural establishments and conservation areas on the territory of the Karlovarský Region. These are completed with the offers of the spa symphonic orchestras and several festivals; the most famous is the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival. Other cultural or sport events are, for example, the Chopin Festival Mariánské Lázně and Canoe Mattoni.
Based on the information from the Czech Statistical Office and the official portal of the Karlovy Vary Region.