Journey in the footsteps of witches – where did magic exist in Europe?
The most famous place associated with the history of witches is, of course, Salem. But you can also visit other cities on a tour of Europe to see the traces left not only by magic, but also by the fight against witchcraft. Salem – The Capital of Witches: Top Attractions
Massachusetts is home to the popular town of Salem, famous for being the site of witch trials. It began when two girls, Abigail and Elizabeth, decided to accuse a woman of witchcraft, after which things escalated. A total of 150 local women were arrested. If you want to learn more about Salem’s history and see everything for yourself, take a tour of the most interesting places.
The Writer’s House Museum
The author who wrote the Inquisition novel The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne lived in Salem. You can see the monument dedicated to him and the museum house where he worked on the book. The house was built in the colonial style and is now a historic, national monument of the United States
The building of this museum is relatively new, but it was built in the same style as other houses in the city and blends perfectly with the look of Salem. In the museum, you can see many wax figures and everyday objects that have been recreated from the time of the witch hunt.
Visitors are invited to view thirteen exhibits, all of which are interesting and unusual in their own way. However, be prepared for the fact that besides the interest you suddenly feel depressed, because being in a city like Salem, it is impossible not to think about how terrible these processes were in fact.
The Underground Dungeon of the Salem Witches
The Salem Dungeon is especially appealing to tourists who want to delve deeper into Salem’s history and experience everything for themselves. The exhibit is located in a former church building. During the time of the trials, the above-ground rooms of churches were used as courtrooms and the dungeons were used to house prisoners.
Visiting this place you can watch the court proceedings, go down into the dungeon and find out what the prisoners looked like – not only wax copies are presented here, but real actresses take part in the performance.
Interesting fact! Tourists are also offered to experience all the “charms” of being trapped in a dungeon. You can step into the role of a witch or sorcerer, get a sentence and “serve” time in a cell.
Be sure to visit the House of the Seven Attic in Salem, which was very vividly described by Nathaniel Hawthorne. This house is a gray building in Salem built by John Turner, the ship’s captain. You can see the inside of the house and learn about the way of life in those days. Other interesting houses in the city are the Gedney House, the Pickman and John Ward House, and Hamilton Hall.
Traces of the Inquisition in Poland
At a short distance from Doruchow there is an unusual place – the Witches’ Mountain. According to legend, an execution took place here in the XVIII century. Today Doruchow is the second Salem.
It is not known whether Doruchow was the site of the last witch trials, but documents have been found indicating that high-ranking officials lost their jobs because of the burning of six witches in 1775.
If you find yourself in Poland, you can get to Doruchow by bus or other means of transportation. There are several interesting and significant places in the city, and some of them are quite strange. For example, on a small island, very close to the basement where the women accused of witchcraft were waiting for their sentence, a cafe has been built. And while tourists eagerly spend time here, locals prefer to avoid the hill on which the fire used to burn.
Plonina – a place of fear
Not far from the place called Jelenia Góra is Plonina, where a witch was burnt during the process. In older times, when the land was ruled by knights-robbers, this place was called the Corner of Fear, and although the name has nothing to do with the Inquisition, it is still worth a visit. Tourists have noticed that in Plonina you can feel an ominous aura.
Nisa – Museum of Witches
If you go the way of witches, then you must visit the museum in Nisa. Here for tourists is an interesting exhibition dedicated to the old witch trials that took place in Poland, on the territory of Niso – Jesenice borderland.
On this land many burnings took place between 1622 and 1655. Local ministers were constantly on the lookout for witches, and there were many suspects. The circle widened until suspicions fell on someone who, by rank and level, should have been above those suspicions. The activities of the inquisitors have waxed and waned, but it is known that in 1622 alone five women were burned at the stake.
The exhibition at the Nisa Museum is very well documented and executed with detailed precision. You can see not only the instruments of torture, but also overwhelmingly realistic mannequins. It is not recommended to take children under the age of 12 to this exhibition.
Czech women have always been famous for their beauty, and curiously enough, this was reflected in the Inquisition process. In Bohemia, not all members of the fair sex were accused of witchcraft, but only selectively. And yet, if you find yourself in Prague, you can see the Museum of Witches, or visit the famous Night of Witches. And if you think you saw not enough magic, you can look into the alchemist’s shop.
Museum of Witches in Prague
You can easily find the Museum of Witches in Prague – just stop by the building with a broom at the entrance and open the door. You will be immersed in an unusual atmosphere of witchcraft, where even the employees of the museum walk only in ceremonial clothing.
Visitors are invited to study medicinal herbs, look at the process of making potions and rituals, and will be shown different stones. You can also look into the field of alchemy.
The main purpose of the museum is to show tourists that witches are not evil and shriveled gargoyles, but ordinary women, most often helping people. The museum in Prague is not like an ordinary exhibition of medieval torture, this place, on the contrary, reminds you of magic, makes you believe in magic.
Night of Witches
If you find yourself in Prague in late April, be sure to visit the Night of the Witches, which is known worldwide as Walpurgis Night. According to popular belief, on this night the boundary between the worlds becomes too thin and any evil power finds its way into our world, heading for a coven to Bald Mountain. People should keep a fern flower or consecrated chalk with them to ward off evil. Fires are a good way to ward off evil spirits – today they are hardly ever lit, but torches are used for fiery performances.
In Ostrava, near the castle, a symbolic ceremony is held to burn witches. Despite the scary atmosphere, the celebration is quite fun. You can learn how to fly a broom, taste delicious treats or take part in competitions.
In another region of the Czech Republic, in Nová Bystrica, on this day there is a festival – a procession with the participation of witches. If you dress up in a witch’s dress, you can pass for one of your own. You can roast wieners on the bonfires.
Although Salem is traditionally considered the homeland of witches, you can find themed museums and unusual places all over the world. If you want to go on a grand tour of Europe, then include in your itinerary the castle Riegersburg (Austria) and the province of Navarra (Spain).
This article uses photos from publicly available online sources and photo banks that do not require attribution and are permitted for commercial use under a CC0 Creative Commons license.
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I love travel, good music and books, tell you where to go and what to do in another country. I consider myself in the full sense of the word a person of the world. Since childhood I loved to travel, go hiking, the hobby has grown into a full-fledged hobby for life. On the road you get to know yourself and your capabilities, learn the culture of different countries, become a little wiser. On the other hand, it’s freedom. The freedom to be each time a discovery for the people you meet along the way.
The Witcher’s House in Vyborg
On the territory of Leningrad region there is a beautiful city – Vyborg. The cultural heritage of Russia has prepared many interesting places for tourists interested in history. Witch House in Vyborg – it is the original architectural technique that makes the structure attractive to connoisseurs of art.
Here the ruins rest next to restored and modern buildings. Vyborg with 700 years of history has preserved the spirit of the past. Originally, the natives were not only Russians, but also Swedes, Finns and Germans.
This has a direct impact on the appearance of Vyborg. Walking along the streets one should pay attention that most of the architectural buildings are the heritage of Neo-Gothic style.
Red brick buildings, sharp spires, stained glass windows retain the atmosphere of the European style. Visitors often get the feeling of a trip abroad.
Step into history
1898 is the date of the beginning of the history of the Witch House. The cultural heritage was erected by Carl Eduard Dippel. The Finnish architect owned local land, designed, built facilities for delivery.
What was the author’s idea to build a non-standard format living quarters – remains a mystery.
Legend has it that the architect simply did not have enough money for the building material. Savings made him build the house without a side wall. Approaching winter speeded up the construction process.
The project was completed by the residents, who did not leave it because of the cold weather. The walls were joined together at right angles. That gave the area a special flavor.
Judging by the fact that all the apartments are occupied, the tenants were not bothered by the absence of the “right” wall.
Where is it
Address of the Witches House in Vyborg is easy to remember – South shaft one. Get there on foot along the port wall.
Ancient shabby object arouses genuine interest. Vyborg vocabulary of the locals keeps several names of the building. “House of Cards”, “Iron”, “Thin” are quite justified by its appearance.
Witch’s House – what is its secret? If you watch from the Southern rampart, you get the impression that the structure consists of a monolithic wall. The other seems to “evaporate”, like a picture of a magic dream. The building loses its shape.
The other two planes look like a shrinking triangle. The “effect” is created by looking at the object in detail. Once you create a specific viewing angle, it becomes a standard three-story structure again.
Twilight creates the illusion of an unfinished facade, windows. The witch’s house looks like a picture on paper.
Each old object has its own legend. The illusion of the “disappearing wall” creates a sense of mystery.
Very often tourists wonder why the Witch House in Vyborg is so named. Locals tell two versions.
The first sounds realistic. According to numerous local stories, women used to move in here. Often the ladies quarreled with each other, against which there were conflicts.
The constant shouting and noise, repeatedly coming from the neighbors’ apartments, reminded me of obscurantism. From the outside, it looked as if the witches flocked to the coven.
The second version of the legend is more mystical. It says that a young red-haired girl once lived there. Every night near 12 o’clock, neighbors saw her in the window with a big black cat in her arms.
The strange neighbor was doing “unclean things. The tenants were afraid of her and tried to avoid talking to her. Under what circumstances she disappeared – history is silent. Whether witches are really involved – no one knows.