Witch cycling route boosts tourism along the Czech-Polish border
A joint Czech-Polish initiative revitalises the tourist infrastructure along their common border and draws new visitors.
" Joint implementation of the project contributed to strengthening of cooperation between partners (museums) due to their motivation to initiate further joint activities in the development of cross-border relations. Due to mutual recognition additional visitors from the other side of the border were attracted by both museums. "
The Witch cycling route project, which was completed in 2010, has provided a welcome boost to tourism in the Olomoucký kraj and Powiat Nyski regions along the Czech-Poland border. Based on the history of 17th century witch trials in the area, a series of thematically linked, multilingual attractions has been developed, including permanent exhibitions, an 80 km cycle route and a tourist information site.
The new initiatives have stimulated the local economy by increasing the number of tourists visiting the region, enhanced cross-border cooperation and “mobilized local organizations and institutions to actively participate in further development (e.g. in the field of agro-tourism and the promotion of local events, characteristic to the Czech-Polish border),” says Eva Mičkechová. The projects have also resulted in welcome modernisation of historical buildings that house the exhibitions, further contributing to the cultural wealth of the region.
Restoring cultural wealth
Two permanent exhibitions were created, in Šumperk in the Czech Republic, and in Nysa in Poland. In both cases, renovation work has been carried out on the historical buildings that house the exhibitions, ensuring that this cultural wealth is maintained for future generations.
Inspiration for this project comes from the witch trials in Silesia and north-western Moravia during 1622-1695. A book, “Reports of belief”, was also published on the subject by Jeseníky Tourist Association.
Newly marked cycle paths, stretching for 80 km between Mohelnice in the Czech Republic to Paczków in Poland, guide more adventurous visitors through the beautiful landscapes of the region. A guided map was published, as well as 10 information boards.
Promoting the arts
As part of the project, two original films were produced. These are projected in four languages as part of the exhibition in Šumperk. A book about the witch trials was also published in three language editions – Czech, Polish and German.
Total investment and EU funding
Total investment for the ‘Witch cycling route’ project is EUR 476 487, of which the EU’s European Regional Development Fund is contributing EUR 400 955 from the Operational Programme ‘Czech Republic – Poland’ for the 2007 to 2013 programming period.