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The natural springs of hot mineral water that dot the lands of Western Bohemia have made this region one of Europe's most important spa centers. These facilities near neighboring Germany have been renovated inside to meet international expectations during the last 20 years, but the exteriors of the colonnades and pavilions still reflect the styles of the 19th century. Because access to much of the border area was highly restricted in the communist era, the hills and forests still provide unspoiled natural settings for hiking and biking. The area also has a rich history of manufacturing luxury glassware and porcelain, which can be seen in downtown shops and factory stores. Farther south is the city of Plzen, famous for inventing Pilsner-style beer.
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