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Via the Witch Cycling Track through the Czech-Polish border areas - Guide

Trail Guide

Colour of the trail marking on the Polish side: black
Total length: 233 km (95 km on the Polish side, 138 km on the Czech side)
Route: Paczków – Pomianów Dolny - Lubiatów – Ligota Wielka – Sarnowice – Otmuchów – Ulanowice – Grądy – Rysiowice – Karłowice Wielkie – Słupice – Nowaki – Radzikowice – Sękowice – Nysa – Konradowa – Wyszków Śląski – Niwnica – Domaszkowice – Wierzbięcice – Kępnica – Hajduki Nyskie – Stary Las – Nowy Las – Charbielin – Jarnołtówek – Skowronków – Konradów – Głuchołazy – Zlaté Hory – Rejvíz – Česká Ves – Jeseník – Vernířovice – Sobotín – Velké Losiny – Rapotín – Šumperk – Mírov – Mohelnice

"The Witch Track" on the Czech side was created in 2006 and its originator was Jeseniky – Tourist Association. In 2009, to the order of County Administrator's Office in Nysa, in the framework of the "Via the Witch Cycling Track through the Czech-Polish border areas" project under the Czech Republic-Poland Cross-border Cooperation Operational Programme (POWT), the trail on the Polish side was laid out and marked (the trail was laid out and marked by Kazimierz Staszków, the excursionist from the PTTK (Polish Tourist and Sightseeing Society) in Nysa). Additionally, 10 informational boards relating to the history of the witch trials in the Polish-Czech border area were placed along the Polish section of the trail, and a guidebook with map was issued. An important element of the project was making the permanent museum exposition connected with the witch trials in the Museum in Nysa. In 2010, County Administrator's Office in Nysa and the Cycle Touring Club "Ktukol" from Głuchołazy (originator Eligiusz Jędrysek) established the Regional Tourist Cycle Badge "Via the Witch Track" with two ranks. Rules of the badge and terms and conditions for earning the badge are available on the websites of Nysa County: www.powiat.nysa.pl and KTK Ktukol www.ktukol.pl.

The Witch Track starts in Paczków, at the Executioner's House, in which the "Executioner's Chamber" is, which is a kind of open-air museum reconstructing the chamber of the executioner of Paczków.

paczkowPaczków - the city founded in the early thirteenth century. In 1254, a fortified castle, protecting the Duchy of Nysa and Otmuchów against Czechs and duchies of Silesia. The city was founded on the Flemish law and along with the act of foundation, it received a number of privileges (among others the right to brew beer). A city with a classic, medieval street layout, surrounded by around a 1200 metres stone walls with 19 shell bastions. The fortifications of Paczków, to this day, are one of the best preserved city fortifications in Poland. The entrance to the renaissance part of the city is protected by gate towers of: Kłodzko, Wrocław (currently observation), Ziębice, and later, renaissance one, of Nysa. The fortification complex makes Paczków to be called the "Polish Carcassonne". Other monuments include: the town hall with 48 metre high renaissance tower built by order of the Bishop Bartazar von Promnitz in the mid-sixteenth century, Renaissance, Baroque and Classical houses, St. John the Evangelist Church from the fourteenth century, which is an example of a Gothic defence temple with a unique church well called the "Tartar" well, and the Executioner's House (now Tourist Information Centre), built from the Prussian wall. One of the biggest attractions of the city the Museum of Gas Industry with a unique collection of gas meters.

Pomianów Dolny – the village mentioned in 1261, until the mid-eighteenth century, belonged to the Duchy of Nysa, now, it is situated in the Lower Silesian Voivodeship. The most important facilities: St. Francis Xavier's Church, built in the Baroque style, and in 1803, rebuilt to the Classical style, in front of the church the late Baroque figure of St. John of Nepomuk of the nineteenth century, the nineteenth century chapels by the roads, the ruins of the baroque palace of the eighteenth century with the ruins of mausoleum of the late nineteenth century, a complex of a former mill of the nineteenth century – now, a warehouse and a fodder factory.

lubiatowLubiatów – the village mentioned in 1335, with a valuable collection of monuments: Sts. Lawrence and Nicholas' Church mentioned in 1302, in its place, partially using its fragments, in the second half of the eighteenth century, a stately, late Baroque building was built, there is a Gothic bell of 1497 in the tower of the church, and in the wall surrounding the church, there is a penitential cross. Near the church are the ruins of the Renaissance manor house of around 1600, rebuilt in around the half of nineteenth century. There are also many shrines and roadside crosses preserved in the village. Outside the village, by the road to the north-east, there is a penitential cross.

Ligota Wielka – the village mentioned in 1261. In the 30's of the twentieth century, due to the construction of the Otmuchowskie Lake, the lower part of the village was deluged. During World War II, a small labour camp for Yugoslavian prisoners. In the village, there is the Church of Our Lady of Sorrows of 1929, referring to the Baroque architecture, with replica of Michelangelo's Pieta.

Sarnowice – the village mentioned in 1261. Today, the centre of tourism and recreation by the Otmuchowskie Lake with numerous agritourist farms. There is a seat of the "OPTY" Yacht Club and a Fishing Riverside Hostel PZW by the lake. The Chapel of Our Lady of the Rosary of the nineteenth century.

otmuchowOtmuchów - the history of the city, and especially its beginnings, connect inseparably with the history Silesia and the bishops of Wrocław. Already in 1155, there was a castellany, mentioned in the Papal Bull of Wrocław, which developed into the Otmuchów City, founded on the Flemish Law in 1374. Until 1810, it remained in the hands of the bishops of Wrocław and was part of the Bishop's Duchy of Nysa. Repeatedly invaded and destroyed by Hussites, what resulted in a loss of many fortifications and the need of transfer the collegiate to the nearby Nysa. Otmuchów has never become a major urban centre, due to damages caused by the Silesian wars and the neighbourhood of Nysa and Paczków. Its boom is connected with the interwar period, when the near build water reservoir attracted many people and formed the city a tourist centre. While in Otmuchów, note the interesting architecture and precious, historical buildings. One of the most important is the Gothically-renassiance bishop's castle. In the second half of the seventeenth century, the castle was converted into a baroque residence of the bishops of Wrocław. A remnant of this reconstruction among others include unique "horse stairs" in the indoor staircase. Partially destroyed during Silesia wars, it was rebuilt once again in the mid-nineteenth century by Wilhelm Humbolt. Before World War II, adapted for the tourism purposes, serves the role to this day. Another valuable monument of Otmuchów is a Renaissance Town Hall, built in 1538, founded by Bishop Jacob von Salza. Its current look dates from 1817. In the corner of the Town Hall, there are sundials from 1575, funded by Bishop Martin Gerstmann, which bear two coats of arms: of the city and bishops'. Sacred architecture is also remarkable, which is represented by among others: Baroque Church of Sts. Nicholas and Francis Xavier with Michael Willmann's paintings and Charles Dankwart's polychromes, neo-Gothic St. Anna's Cemetery Church, or Marian Column made by Anthony Jorg in 1734 that stands in the main square of Otmuchów. The remains of the medieval city walls is the Gothic tower gate, preserved to the present day, called the "Nysa Tower" or the "Sparrow Tower", which once was the city prison is.
The fact that the city had its executioner is showed by the unique monument of the "executioner's wife" – the column standing at 1 May St. Blurred inscription reads: "I, Christopher Kuhn, the executioner, ordered to build for eternal glory of God, in honour of Anne Catherine Helbranin, my wife and housekeeper". Since 1620, there has been a torture chamber in Otmuchów, and the executioner belonged to the guild in Nysa. The first executioner was Wolf Bohmichen. The profession was passed through many generations, from father to son, until the mid-nineteenth century. Two families in Otmuchów lived off this craft.

ulanowiceUlanowice – old Slavic village founded before 1300 on the Polish Law. There is a palace complex consisting of a Baroque palace, a manor, and a park with a Baroque column from 1724 topped with the statue of Christ.

Grądy – the village mentioned in 1300 as Hermansdorf, Herzmantowitz, Eherzen. At the pond, towards Laskowice, there is a fishery with catering facilities.

rysiowiceRysiowice – the village founded in the first half of the thirteenth century as a knight's estate. In 1860, a magnificent palace was built here, with the characteristics of Romantic and Eclectic architecture with elements of neo-Renaissance, neo-Baroque or even neo-Romanesque architecture. The palace is surrounded by the park from the nineteenth century, with mausoleum from the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century. The palace is a private property and is not accessible to the public.

karlowiceKarłowice Wielkie – the village mentioned in 1244 as villa Karlouicz. There is the St. Mary Magdalene's Church belonging to the most valuable in the region. The original was mentioned in 1244, the present, Baroque, built in 1758. The interior has a rich Baroque and Rococo décor and furnishings. On the wall of the church a Renaissance tombstone from the second half of sixteenth century and an epitaph from 1820. By the road to Kamiennik, there is a Baroque statue of St. John of Nepomuk from the eighteenth century. In Karłowice Wielkie, Edward von Grützner was born – author of portraits, still lifes, illustrations for the works of Shakespeare. His paintings, to this day, are popular among connoisseurs, and can be found in many collections and museums.

Słupice – the village was founded as a Slavic settlement, transferred to German Law before 1300. There is a shrine in the village from the nineteenth century, with neo-Gothic characteristics.

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