The Witches’ Cycle Route
One of the saddest episodes in the history of North Moravia were the witch trials of the second half of the 17th century, when hundreds of women fell victim to witch-hunts and were burned at the stake. Hear the stories and see the locations of these witch trials in the villages and towns of the Šumperk region under the mountain peaks!
Spells, magic and association with the Devil
The cycle route doesn’t just take in demons, devils and infernal beings, but also normal people who, once upon a time, lived here and fell victim to blindness, avarice, the desire for power and sadistic urges. This grand but fiery Baroque theatre had its heroes and villains. The ‘baddies’ are headed by the avaricious, inconsiderate and deceitful inquisitor, František Jindřich Boblig z Edelstadtu, with the ‘goodies’ represented by the brave, educated Šumperk vicar and dean, Kryštof Alois Lautner, who met a sad end; after being arrested, he spent five years in prison and was burned at the stake in Mohelnice on 18 September 1865.
Criss-crossing the country in search of witches
Visitors are directed across the landscape, with its unique genius loci, by road signs depicting a witch on a bicycle. The Witches’ Cycle Route symbolically starts in Mohelnice, the place where Lautner was burned at the stake. The cruel fate of several hundred innocents is marked by numerous stops, memorial plaques and small monuments along the route. Don’t miss Vernířovice, where the witch-hunting frenzy started, and the Renaissance chateau in Velké Losiny, 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. In Bělá pod Pradědem there is a memorial to the final three victims of the witch-hunt: a mother who had to watch the beheading of her two daughters before submitting to the same punishment herself. Is there any worse spectacle?