The Witches’ Cycle Route
Introduction: The Witches’ Cycle Route
Back in the 17th century, in the North Moravia, a dark episode in the Czech Republic’s history occurred. A series of witch hunts were taking place, with the holding of a great many sham trials. As a result, many innocent souls were burned at the stake. When you take 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 this tragedy and hear some of the sad stories surrounding it. This path is easy to traverse thanks to ingenious road signs depicting a witch on a bicycle.
Witch trials in the Czech Republic
First of all these trials were from 1678 – 1696. As a result, more than 100 people are estimated to have died. The leader of these trials was Jindřich František Boblig, an old judge, and there was probably a connection to the Bohemian’s unwillingness to give up Protestantism during the Catholic Reformation.
The first trail starts in Mohelnice, now famous for its memorial to Kryštof Lautner, who was a victim himself. Unfortunately he was to die because he dared to stand up to Boblig in demanding an end to these witch hunts.
Memorials to the victims
As we continue along the route, you’ll see many more memorial plaques in remembrance of other victims of the trials. Furthermore you’ll also get to visit Vernířovice, which was where the frenzy saw it’s beginnings. Because someone saw a local girl, Marie Schuhová taking the bread of communion from her mouth and putting it into her prayer book during mass.
Within the Renaissance Chateau in Velké Losiny, which you’ll see along the way, is where the judgment tribunal sat. Three exhibitions relate the history of the trials. One in Šumperk, in the cellars of the Gothic Moated Fortress in Jeseník. Also another is in the Municipal Museum in Zlaté Hory.
Finally, in In Bělá pod Pradědem you’ll find one of the most poignant memorials. This is to a mother who, after watching her two daughters lose their heads, ends her own suffering with the same fate.
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You can read more about the trails HERE