Catalunya: Land of Witches

Halloween is coming and as temperatures are still mild enough to enjoy an outdoor day, we have decided to visit some of the best known land of witches. Did you know that the oldest written testimony of the witches hunt in all Europe was found in Catalunya? It dates from 1424 and who signs this new ordinance was the... View Article


Halloween is coming and as temperatures are still mild enough to enjoy an outdoor day, we have decided to visit some of the best known land of witches.
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Did you know that the oldest written testimony of the witches hunt in all Europe was found in Catalunya? It dates from 1424 and who signs this new ordinance was the count of the Pallars. Although over thirty trials have been documented between the fifteenth and the sixteenth century only in the Pallars county, it wasn’t until the period between 1616 and 1622 when the hunt was bigger and spread all over the country.
But witches were nothing more than healers, with a great knowledge of herbs and cures, acting also as midwives, who suffered the repression of a Church that was stronger than ever and fighting to end paganism in Europe.

This side of healers and experts in herbs is what we can see an online exhibition from the Museu d’História de Catalunya, where we can see the virtues of the different herbs and plants that can be found among the vegetation of our woods.

Do you want to go out and discover on the ground the virtues of the different plants?

From the Museu Etnològic del Montseny, in Arbúcies we can start the route called Water Itinerary and healing herbs , that we can enjoy on our own, downloading the track from their website, and that will allow us to discover the natural richness of the area in a 4 kilometres circular route that can be extended to 6 kilometres.

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There are plenty of areas all over Catalunya known as “Land of Witches” that have seen their reputation perpetuated into the oral tradition and that has been the origin of different idioms and rhymes. In Arbúcies, for example, there is a popular expression that says: “Arbúcies, dotze dones, tretze bruixes” (Arbúcies, twelve women, thirteen witches). Another town with a huge amount of stories and rhymes is Centelles where, different documents confirm executions in the Pla de les Forques, or the Torre del Bell Esguard, where the gallows of the count of Centelles where placed, or the Cercle de les Bruixes, a circle with cypresses esoterically placed. You can follow the Ruta de les Bruixes (around 6 kilometres), that will guide you through some of the main places of interest in the area.

 

Sant Feliu Sasserra was one of the main places during the witchcraft repression and where the last execution made in Catalunya took place in 1767. From the Centre d’Interpretació de la Bruixeria they offer guided tours on the centre, where we could revive some of the most dramatic episodes of the repression. Once we have visited this centre, the tour continues to the old quarter of Sant Feliu and it also includes a visit to the Serrat de les Forques, where those condemned for witchcraft were executed.
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Another important documentation centre is the Espai Bruixes, placed inside the Espai Montseny in Viladrau, where a witches’ Sabbath is recreated using the latest technology and simultaneous projections to create and amazing experience. In this centre we will be also able to revive the history of the witches in Viladrau and discover some of their knowledges in plants and healing herbs.
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And we cannot end a resume of some of the best routes along the different lands of witches in Catalunya, without visiting the Pedraforca, the magic mountain by excellence. There are several routes (PR-C 123) and plenty of legends explaining the origin of its peculiar and so characteristic shape. We have chosen one:

 

“Once upon a time there were, on the top of the mountain two groups of witches arguing and fighting, being so noisy than even the people living on the foot of the mountain can feel the ground shaking. They were so scared that they started praying to Sant Miquel who, answering their prayers, came down from the heavens, and split the mountain in two parts, leaving each group on a different side.”

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And you, do you know any other legend? Which one do you prefer? Remember that you can share your recommendations and proposals with us on the main social networks: FacebookTwitterGoogle + and Instagram.

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