Teplice, known as Tiplitz-Schonau before the Second World War, is a town of 30,000 people in north-west Bohemia with a long history of iron-working and glass-making, but it also one of the best-preserved spa resorts in Europe. Its hot alkaline springs were supposedly discovered in 762.
The spa enjoyed a period of prosperity in the early eighteenth century. The famous Plague Pillar, designed by Matyas B Braun, was built in Chateau Square in 1718 after the town was spared an epidemic which raged in Bohemia five years earlier. The Ball Garden and House, a magnificent Baroque building designed specifically for balls, was built in 1732, and is now the home of the North Bohemian Symphony Orchestra. In the early nineteenth century Goethe, Beethoven and Chopin were amongst those who took the spa waters, and the extensive Military Health Institute was constructed for the army of the Habsburg Empire between 1801 and 1807.
The spa achieved its greatest popularity between 1870 and 1914, when it entertained wealthy industrialists from many countries. Buildings from that period include the Beethoven Spa, an imposing four-storey sanitorium, the Caesarean Spa, in the Baroque revival style which replaced a water mill and an inn, and the Stone Spa, in the Secessionist style with Baroque features, of 1911. The spacious Botanic Gardens date from the same period. The very large neo-classical Krusnahorske Theatre was built in 1921-24.