Via exulantis – The Moravian exiles’ way

The exiles’ way

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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Have a safe journey!


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