Via exulantis – The Moravian exiles’ way


O nás
This project was supported
by the Hyundai Foundation
and the OSF Foundation


The exiles’ way

O nás











About 550 inhabitants of Suchdol and surroundings in the Kuhländchen region – secret protestants - escaped because of a hard persecution. Their refuge was found in the small town Herrnhut (Ochranov) in Saxony. The town was founded by Kristian David,
a carpenter from Ženklava, in the estates owned by count Zinzendorf, in 1722.
By the time when the first refugees arrived, there were only several unfinished houses there, but many other people were coming soon and so other houses were being built.
The most able-bodied exiles went through the way to Herrnhut, being 350 km long,
in about 11 days. Some of the refugees were taking babies only several days old with themselves, also old people in their seventies went through the way. Some of them escaped from the prison being half-naked, often even in the snowstorms. Some were caught on the way, were sent back and died in hard labour. In spite of this fact, many
of them went back to take their siblings, parents and friends to Herrnhut.
Kristian David himself went through the way twelve times.

The beginning of the project Via exulantis

In 1996 the first attempt to realize the project was made, but it was not successful.
In 2000, at the occasion of the 300th anniversary of N.L.Zinzendorf's birth, the first walking tour to Herrnhut was made by some Moravian members in May 17th – 26th.
For this opportunity a leaflet describing the future Via exulantis was published
in the amount of about 100 pcs. A film with this topic was made, too.

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On the occasion of the 3rd conference MORAVIAN in 2003, the 300th anniversary
of birth of David Nitschmann Syndic (1703-79) was commemorated. He described his journey Suchdol - Hernhut by means of his diary as one of the „Five men of the church“. In tribute to his person, on October 18th 2003 a new exposition ‘David Nitschmann Syndic‘ was opened, where the journey of the first exiles from Suchdol to Hernhut has been commemorated. For this way a name "Via exulantis" was chosen. At the place where the house of David Nitschmann Syndic stood, an information board was placed too and the ground plan of the house was marked out. In those places a tree from Zeist (where David Nitschmann Syndic is entombed) was planted in 2003.

The project continues

Since 2003 a close cooperation and frequent meetings with Pilawa Górna (Gnadenfrei) and Herrnhut had been taking place. It resulted in concluding of a three-sided partnership agreement in 2004. In front of the museum an information board was placed to mark the starting point of the Via exulantis. The ceremonial opening of the way took place on October 14th 2006. In 2006 a publication “Via exulantis - tourist guide“ was published too and then in 2012 its second edition was published. In following years only several individuals went through the whole way.
In 2018 an intensive building of Via exulantis was started with the aid of three „pioneer ladies“ from Brno : Helena Mahelová, Věra Osvaldová and Kateřina Szczepaníková.

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Next stage of development of Via exulantis has been planned for years 2019 - 2020.
The intention is to carry out further exploration of the way and to collect information systematically for the third and final stage of the project.

Jáchym Pantálek, student of Ostrava University, speaking fluently English and Polish, has been appointed as Project Manager of Via exulantis.
Contact information :      tel.: (+420) 772 720 834      e-mail: jachym.pantalek@gypri.cz
If you are interested in making this journey, please contact him.

Regulations for the pilgrims, so that they could obtain a certificate: The married couple Petra and Pavel Krištofs from Valašské Meziříčí became significant supporters of the Via Exulantis project. On July 27th 2019 they set out for a journey, following the Moravian exiles’ way from Suchdol n.O. to Herrnhut. They tried to find the most favourable route and as many night quarters possibilities as possible, around which
a net of services shall be developed.
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Petra’s blog where you can watch advance of their journey is here ...
(Address   https://askvpetra.wixsite.com/website)

Mapping of the Via Exulantis: In the period June 29th - July 4th 2020 a group of seven Moravian members and sympathizers carried out a journey to Poland and Germany
to make a more detailed map of the Via Exulantis' route for tourist and pilgrimage purposes. The participants of this expedition made the tour by means of cars, bicycles and walking. They have mapped an essential part of the route, made new contacts with several institutions and sympathizers and also met some old friends - supporters of this project. The team was led by Daniel Říčan, the chairman of the Moravian Association and Jáchym Pantálek, the Via Exulantis Project's manager. The records that have been made during the journey shall be helpful to find the best trail of the journey and board and lodging facilities.
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The link to the detailed report from the expedition is here ... The link to the Moravian bulletin about the expedition and photo gallery is here ...

Benigna Carstens from Herrnhut in Germany, pastor and member of the UF directorate, set out on a five-day bike ride along the Via Exulantis. She traveled through Krnov, Glucholazy, Prudnik, Nysa, Pilawa Górna, Swidnica and Jelenia Góra. She created an interesting presentation with photographs about her journey, which was translated into Czech by Renata Kunzová.
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It can be viewed at the following links (it consists of two parts in German; it takes a little longer time to open the file):
Presentation - part one...
Presentation - part two...

On August 26, 2021, another mapping expedition set out on Via Exulantis. The team consisted of the Via Exulantis project's leader Jáchym Pantálek and two supporters Roman Lipový and Matěj Slíva. In relatively cold and rainy weather, after a short meeting at the Museum of the Moravian Brothers, they set out on a journey from Suchdol nad Odrou. The task of the participants of the expedition was to explore the terrain in more detail in a Via Exulantis' part, both on the Czech and Polish side, and possibly discover other possible variants of some sections of the road. They also focused on information about accommodation options at route.

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On Monday, April 11, 2022, Josef Šimčík from Pňovice near Olomouc set out on foot
on a pilgrimage from Suchdol n.O. to Herrnhut. He completed part of the route in the Czech territory, then continued in the direction of Nysa, Pilawa Górna, Swidnica, Jelenia Góra, Leuba, Herrnhut. In some places he visited the monuments left there by the Moravian Brethren. He covered about 400 km in nine days.
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You can follow part of his journey, which falls into the period of Easter 2022, at this link (with commentary in Czech by Daniel Říčan):...

Have a safe journey!


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