The site where beautiful spa parks and magnificent buildings may be found today was covered by moors and marshes more than two centuries ago. This abandoned piece of land was a part of the demesne of the monastery in Teplá, which was founded by wealthy nobleman Hroznata in 1197.
The monks from the monastery were the first to discover the salt spring in the local woods. They later began extracting and selling the salt from the spring. Rumours of the healing effects of the local mineral springs spread quickly, and the ill soon started coming to them. This led the monks to clean the springs and to make them accessible to the people. The local people, however, did not believe in the healing powers of the springs and thus, the first attempt to found a spa was unsuccessful.
The actual foundation of the spa is partly attributed to monasterial physician Jan Josef Nehr. In 1779, he succeeded in persuading the abbot of the monastery, Karel Kašpar Reitenberger, of the healing effects of the mineral springs. When taken several times a day, even a small amount of the water improved digestion, increased appetite and helped with sleeping problems. Unfortunately, the monastery was unable to acquire the necessary permits until 1786, and so the construction of the first spa buildings was postponed.
Abbot Karel Kašpar Reitenberger, along with talented landscape architect Václav Skalník, greatly contributed to the construction of additional spa buildings and pavilions and to the further development of the spa in the early 19th century. Václav Skalník substantially transformed the landscape and designed parks that, in addition to the mineral springs, have become the most distinctive trait of Mariánské Lázně.
Mariánské Lázně was named after the Mary Spring, which was originally known as “Stinking” because of its rather intense smell. The spring was later named after the picture of the Virgin Mary, which was hung on a tree near the spring by a soldier in gratitude for healing his wounds.
In 1818, Mariánské Lázně was separated from the village of Úšovice and designated as a spa. Only 47 years later, it received the status of a town.