Carreró de les Bruixes (Alley of Witches) – Cervera, Spain - Atlas Obscura

Carreró de les Bruixes (Alley of Witches)

Cervera, Spain

A signal indicates the entrance to this alley, rumored to be a meeting place for witches. 

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In the past this street was called Carrer Sant Bernat. But as popular belief spread that witches met in this odd covered passageway, the name was changed. It has an elongated layout, parallel to that of Carrer Major, with sections covered with arched vaults, and others that pass in the open air.

The town of Cervera dates back to medieval times. The small settlement grew from a few houses into a fortress and neighborhoods made of terraced houses. Cervera was a walled town where the outer walls of the houses served as defensive walls.

Carreró de les Bruixes is located near these outer walls. A series of bridges linking the houses and gardens outside the walls, formed the gloomy, winding alley. According to legend, witches used to meet in this alley on nights lit by the the full moon to share their spells.

There are a number of symbols that mark the street’s magical history such as the sun and the moon, cauldron, tarot cards, black cats or the hand and the cross, an esoteric emblem that relates palmistry and femininity. There are also signs as the macabre dance, the fire (a main element of Witches’ Sabbath), and goat horns. Many of these symbols were put in place in the 1870s by the artist Jaume Castells.

Thanks to the popularity of Carreró de les Bruixes, in the late 70s was born an initiative to perform a Witches’ Sabbath party (Aquelarre de Cervera). On the last Saturday in August people from all over gather in Cervera. For three days, the city is filled with spectacular shows, dozens of witches, and the Macho Cabrío (a satyr).