20. January 2017

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The picturesque Bílina–Kyselka spa, with its gorgeous park and stylish architecture, is currently unused, awaiting an investor to breathe new life into the run-down, partially-dilapidated property. Until a suitable investor is identified, however, the spa and its dreamlike atmosphere, echoing its former glory and grandiosity, could serve as a highly original filming location.
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The spa complex is located in a quiet part of Bílina in the Ústí region. In addition to the spa’s main building, filmmakers can also use the forest park, the inhalatorium, the mineral water bottling station, and a number of other small buildings. The interiors of the spa buildings, as well as other accommodation buildings and the inhalatorium, built in the 20th century, are currently completely empty and unfurnished. The most interesting spaces for filmmakers are the dining room, staircases, and recreation room (formerly a cinema) in the main building, as well as the music pavilion and the main room of the inhalatorium, where the mineral water springs were open to the public.

The first historical written records regarding the use of Bílina’s special acidulous mineral water for healing purposes date back to the early 17th century. The Lobkowicz family archives include clearly documented business activities connected with the water going back as far as 1664. The first mention of organized spa activities in Bilina can be found in early 18th century records. Between 1810 and 1820, other springs were discovered and controlled, and the range of Bílina’s spas gradually expanded. A number of eminent personalities visitied the spa, including Johann Wolfgang Goethe and Ludwig van Beethoven. At the end of the 19th century, the spa was the pride of Bílina. The extension of the railroad to the town was an important milestone, as was the construction of the main spa building, constructed in pseudo-Renaissance style, and featuring guest rooms, a salon, a reading room, spa treatment rooms, an inhaler, as well as an Empire-style colonnade. The main spa building is surrounded by a park, where you’ll find colonnades, and other small buildings, the most interesting of which is a Swiss-style wooden pavilion. It’s a copy of a Swedish wooden hotel and is now used as a forest café. The original building was built for the Prague Jubilee Exhibition in 1891. In 1898, an inhalatorium as well as a mineral water bottling facility were built in the spa complex.

The popularity of the water, known as Bílinská kyselka (Bílina acidulous water), reached its peak at the turn of the 20th century, when it was exported throughout the world to destinations as far away as the Brazilian metropolis Rio de Janeiro. In more recent history, the Bílina spa was unable to escape nationalization. Due to worsening air pollution in the industrial areas in the region, treatment of upper respiratory ailments had to be suspended. Treatments then focused on ailments of the stomach and small intestine. The spa park and surrounding areas were entirely abandoned. The mineral water bottling facility was nationalized. The town underwent a revival in the 1970s - it was granted spa town status, and the park, forest café, and minigolf course were restored. In 1998, the Lobkowicz family successfully regained the spa in a restitution claim. They offered to sell it to the town, which they did in 2003; however, the spa facilities were not restored and have sat empty since that time. The mineral water bottler is the only part that continues to function.

The Bílina spa interiors were used most recently by Czech Television for filming their epic historical saga Já, Mattoni. “We are extremely pleased that the spa, formerly one of the most important spa destinations in Europe, has regained some of its former glory through this television series. We’re sure other filmmakers will be interested in the potential of this photogenic and variable location and we would be delighted to assist them,” said Barbora Hyšková of the Ústí Region Film Office. For more information about filming in the Bílina-Kyselka spa complex in the Ústí region, please contact Barbora Hyšková at the Ústi Region Film Office at hyskova.b@kr-ustecky.cz, or by phone at +420 778 494 321.