RS puflatsch hexenbaenke
RS puflatsch hexenbaenke

Witches’ Benches

A mystical place linked to the Sciliar Witches are the Witches’ Benches “Banc’ da la Stríes” at Bullaccia

The Alpe di Siusi and Mt. Sciliar are inhabited by mythological creatures that are closely connected to nature. Numerous legends and sagas tell about these benign but also malign creatures. There are for instance the herb women who tinge sick people’s cheeks with the colours of sunrise, or also the “Salingen”, bewitched by King Laurin and transformed into flowers subsequently. And of course in this area also witches have been up to mischief - the famous Sciliar Witches.

According to a folk’s belief, a witch features healing or ominous qualities and has, in the frame of Christianisation, often been believed to deal with the devils or demons. It is, however, still not proved that a “witch” used to be a person that carried out cult activities in Christianisation. For this reason also persons with a special knowledge, low mystical creatures or goddesses or pre- and post-Christian persons are to be taken in account.

It is widely known that the Sciliar mountain used to be a popular meeting point for the Sciliar Witches. The Witches’ Benches (Hexenbänke, in German) are rocks that have the form of seats with armrests and backrests, located above Bullaccia. Basing on a legend, the chief witch wanted to sit right here in order to have an overview on the area. In night-time sessions, they raised a hue and cry at the Witches’ Benches and celebrated hilariously.

Some researches, however, define the rock formations as natural, but rather strange alignment of augite porphyry. Nevertheless it could also be an ancient, Neolithic cult site, in which goddesses were worshipped (8,000 - 1,000 BC). The awesome form of the legendary Sciliar massif is the ideal background for a walk to the Witches’ Benches: the hiking trail from Compaccio to the viewpoint of Mt Bullaccia takes you about 1.5 hours (altitude difference: approx. 530 m). By the way: in the forest of Tiosels near Castelrotto, there are two further stone blocks, known as Witches’ Chairs.

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