The Witches’ Cycle Route
Back in the 17th century, in the North Moravia, a dark episode in the Czech Republic’s history occurred. Witch hunts took place, sham trials were held and many hundreds were burned at the stake.
By taking a ride on The Witches’ Cycle Route near to the Jeseníky Mountains, you’ll get a chance to see some of the key locations of the tragedy and hear some of the stories. The path is easy to traverse thanks to ingenious road signs depicting a witch on a bicycle.
Witch trials in the Czech Republic
The trials ran from 1678 – 1696, and more than 100 people are estimated to have died. They were led by Jindřich František Boblig, a retired judge, and are thought to have been connected to the Bohemian’s unwillingness to give up Protestantism during the Catholic Reformation.
The trail starts in Mohelnice, famous for its memorial to Kryštof Lautner, a famous victim of the trials, who died because he dared to stand up to Boblig and demand and end to the witch hunts.
Memorials to the victims
As the route continues, you’ll see many more memorial plaques remembering the other victims of the trials. You’ll also get to visit Vernířovice, which was where the frenzy started after local Marie Schuhová was observed taking the bread of communion from her mouth into her prayer book during mass.
The Renaissance Chateau in Velké Losiny, which you’ll see along the way, is where the judgement tribunal sat. Three exhibitions relate the history of the trials: in Šumperk, in the cellars of the Gothic Moated Fortress in Jeseník and in the Municipal Museum in Zlaté Hory.
Finally, in In Bělá pod Pradědem you’ll find one of the most poignant memorials – one to a mother who had to watch her two daughters be beheaded before suffering the same fate herself.