Gambrinus is the 'second' Pilsner brewery. It is less known than its neighbour Pilsner Urquell and stands a little in its shadow. However, lots of Czech beer connoisseurs prefer the Gambrinus beer to Pilsner Urquell for its less pretentious, more straightforward lager taste.
The Gambrinus brewery was founded in 1869 by 20 distinguished Pilsen citizens chaired by the renowned industrialist, knight Emil Škoda, as The First Pilsner Joint-stock Brewery. Nowadays, the brewery has been made accessible for excursions and has a considerable lot to offer to an interested visitor.
During the tour you will see the brewery operations, raw materials, traditional techniques and modern technology. You will also learn how beer quality is monitored and you will then enjoy some fun activities in the Gambrinus Arena. At the end of the tour, the Gambrinus Brewery has prepared a beer tasting and beer tapping school for you, supervised by a master brewer.
Gambrinus Brewery, Plzeň.
We will take the conference bus and visit a beautiful little town Bečov nad Teplou in the West Bohemia region. We will see the exposition of the Château Bečov and the reliquary of St. Maurus. Then we will have a lunch in the Hradní Bašta restaurant in Bečov nad Teplou. In the afternoon, a guided city walk in Karlovy Vary is planned.
The expected schedule of the trip is as follows (can be refined, eventually):
In the west part of the Czech Republic near the world famous spa town Karlovy Vary, on the right bank of the river Teplá and in the middle of the romantic landscape of Slavkovský les... there can be found a picturesque little town – Bečov nad Teplou.
This location is full of cultural and natural monuments, the main attraction is without doubt a set of historical architecture compound of a gothic castle, a renaissance palace and a baroque château.
Since 2002 a unique Romanesque monument – the reliquary of Saint Maurus has been presented to public. It is the second most famous goldsmith monument in the Czech Republic.
The restored reliquary of St. Maurus. Photo © www.svatymaur.cz, 2015.
The reliquary of St. Maurus is among the so-called house-like or tomb-like reliquaries. Inside the reliquary there are skeletal remains of St. John the Baptist, St. Maurus and St. Timothy. The reliquary is oblong-shape, its dimensions are 140 x 42 cm, height 65 cm. The original oak case was substituted by new walnut case. Decoration consists of twelve reliefs, fourteen vermeil statuettes, precious stones, ancient gems, filigrees, and enamels.
The reliquary of St. Maurus had an interesting fate. The reliquary was discovered in the year 1985 under the boarded floor of the Gothic castle's chapel of the Virgin of Mary, it was one of the biggest discoveries of the 20th century in the Czechoslovakia.From 1991 to 2002 worked on its preservation. The restoring of the reliquary of St. Maurus is unique in the world. The other house-like reliquaries haven't yet been renovated to such a large extent as the reliquary of St. Maurus.
Visitors get to know about the interesting history of this valuable relic at the beginning of the tour. Visitors will be able to see the content of the reliquary in the photos of large formats. It is possible to listen to an exciting story about the revelation of the reliquary in 1985. And it is available to see an authentic short film from its discovery and pick-up from the wooden floorboards by the policemen in the castle chapel. The visitors will learn in detail about the decoration of the reliquary and about the process of its restoration.
The original wooden core of the reliquary is situated in the last room. There are many presentations of other existing reliquaries. The visitor will learn why the reliquaries were made and what could typically be found inside of them.
The Bečov château as seen from the gardens. Photo © Národní památkový ústav, 2015.
The historic interiors of the lower baroque château present the era of the 19th century. The exposition is mostly composed of the original mobiliary, which was part of the possession of the last noble owners of Bečov estate – the Beaufort-Spontin family. The most authentic place of the château is the library and the St. Peter's chapel.
At the beginning of the tour visitors will learn the history of this unique place and its building process.
The second part of the tour is dedicated to the last aristocratic family living in Bečov nad Teplou – the Beaufort-Spontin family.
The visitors pass through particular salons during the tour – graphic, red, tapestry and Spanish. Since Bečov nad Teplou has had a long musical history, you can enjoy a live music performance during the tour. The library and the St. Peter's chapel belong to the most beautiful rooms of the château. Nowadays, the chapel is used for wedding ceremonies and cultural events.
Aerial view of the spa centre of Karlovy Vary from the northwest. Photo © M. Soukupová (photographer) & Kamil Ekštein (pilot), 2011.
Karlovy Vary is a spa town situated in western Bohemia, Czech Republic, on the confluence of the rivers Ohře and Teplá, approximately 130 km (81 mi) west of Prague (Praha). It is named after the King of Bohemia and the Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV, who founded the city in 1370. It is historically famous for its hot springs (13 main springs, about 300 smaller springs, and the warm-water Teplá River). It is the most visited spa town in the Czech Republic.
Market Colonnade, Karlovy Vary. Photo © Kamil Ekštein, 2008.
In the 19th century, it became a popular tourist destination. The city is also known for the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, which has become one of Europe's major film events. Besides that it is famous for the popular Czech liqueur Becherovka and Karlovarské oplatky (Carlsbad spa wafers). The glass manufacturer Moser Glass is located in Karlovy Vary as well.
Besides Moser, another famous tableware factory is situated in Karlovy Vary – Thun 1794 a.s., the largest Czech porcelain producer. Following more than two centuries old tradition of porcelain making in Bohemia, it produces a specific type of so-called hard-paste porcelain with firing temperature of 1405°C.
The city has also given its name to the delicacy known as "Carlsbad plums". These plums (usually quetsch) are candied in hot syrup, then halved and stuffed into dried damsons; this gives them a very intense flavour.
The city has been used as the location for a number of film-shoots, including the 2006 films Last Holiday and box-office hit Casino Royale, both of which used the city's Grandhotel Pupp in various shots.
Fisheye overview of the city of Karlovy Vary from the northeast. Photo © www.karlovyvary.cz, 2015.