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Czech Republic travel facts

Czech Republic map
Area (sq km): 78,864
Population: 10,228,744
Nationality: Czech
Local Name: Cesko
Language: Greek,
Slovak,
Hungarian
Time Zone: +1 GMT
Currency: 1 koruna = 100 haleru
Rate: www.xe.com
Capital: Prague
Dialling Code: +420
Electricity: 240V/50Hz
Internet Code: .cz
Religion: Roman Catholic,
Protestant
Climate: Continental
Government: Parliamentary democracy
Inoculations: None
Driving: Right
Int'l License: Not Required
Banking: M-F 8.00-18.00
Major Airports: Brno(BRQ),
Karlovy Vary(KLV),
Prague(PRG)

Night of Witches burns bright

The debatable origins of the Night of Witches only help fuel the mysterious and eerie feeling that settles over the Czech Republic as the fires are lit high above the cities and villages.

Petrin Hill
Petrin Hill

As the bitter winter ebbs, ushering in the new dawn of spring, the people of the Czech Republic climb hilltops and light huge bonfires. Is it because the evil spirits are out in force on this night? Or maybe it is to cleanse the land for a new a spring? Believe what you will, but consider hiking the hilltops with the light hearted Czechs for this unique and celebratory event!

Witches’ Night has many names and many different opinions about its origin, but one thing is certainly true, it is a fabulous night to spend in the Czech Republic usually in late April. If you are around Prague, Praha, head to Petrin Hill in the lower quarter, Mala Strana. Outside of Prague, the best celebration is in Western Bohemia in Prichovice.

Some say that The Burning of the Witches, as it is also called, is an old pagan rite left over from the Celts that lived in Bohemia and Moravia during the Iron Age.

Witches’ brooms

Some people believe that old witches’ brooms were collected and burnt in the hilltop bonfires to cleanse the land of the evil witches. Some people believe that on this mysterious night, the night midway between the summer solstice and the spring equinox that the evil spirits take the form of witches and gain great power that enables them to terrorise the living. In this case, the hilltop fires were lit to set fire to the evil spirits flying through the air.

Also called Paleni Carodejnic, some tie this night’s events to the Beltane festival of Ireland, Scotland and the Isle of Man. Some say it relates to burning so-called witched at the stake. Whatever the beliefs, Witches’ Night is now a light-hearted affair, one where the Czech people climb hilltops and light bonfires, excited about the dawning spring season.

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