Part of the abandoned spa complex which conservationists say will soon be too far gone to save
Czech lawmakers have called for urgent steps to save what has been described as one of the cultural jewels of the country, a spa complex in the west of the country that has now fallen into ruin amid accusations about who is responsible for its decline.
The upper house of the Czech parliament, the Senate, called on Thursday for the Karlovy Vary regional government to step and take emergency steps to save the Kyselka spa complex following a 19,000 signature petition to save it.
But the region has said that it is largely powerless to intervene — although it has already fined the country’s top mineral water producer Karlovarské Minerální Vody (KMV) Kč 1.8 million for failing to take measures to save the protected landmark.
KMV has been put under the spotlight over the Kyselka spa complex, which has been allowed to fall into disrepair over the last 20 years after once being one of the most beautiful spas in the country and a renowned treatment center for children.
The high-profile mineral water company says that it only owns part of the spa site and points to a restoration and conversion project it has prepared that would save a fraction of the buildings but lead to bulldozers being called in to deal with the rest.
The civic group putting pressure on KMV to hand over the complex or restore it and the Czech state to take a more hands on approach, the Association for the Protection and Development of the Cultural Heritage of the Czech Republic, known by its Czech acronym ASORKD, says a second property on the site is actually a front for the mineral water company. KMV refutes the claim.
The Kyselka saga has highlighted the slapdash privatization at the start of the 1990s, which split the spa complex and left it in the hands of a succession of different owners with no clear strategy for what to do with it. It has also once again highlighted the chronic failure of the Czech state to save large parts of its cultural heritage, either through lack of cash or lack of will to take on powerful interest groups.