Most visitors are drawn to Zugarramurdi by the history and legends surrounding the Inquisition tribunal of 1610. The origin of this horrific episode in Zugarramurdi's past lies in the story told by a young woman from the town, who said that in her dreams she had flown and had seen people from the town taking part in witches sabbats. At first, the event was handled by the parish priest, who would have insisted that the culprits quell their guilty consciences. But then the Holy Inquisition became involved, most likely notified by the abbot at the Monastery of Urdax. As a result, the Inquisition put 53 people on trial in Logroño. Most of them died in prison or on their way to trial. The auto-da-fé was held on 7 November 1610, resulting in 21 people accused of minor crimes, 21 pardons, and 11 people burned at the stake (six in person and five in effigy, together with their mortal remains) on Sunday, 8 November 1610. Zugarramurdi is not the only town in Navarra infected with witchcraft fever. There are documents that attest to similar events taking place in at least 64 other towns. But due of the repercussions of the 1610 witch trials felt across the Europe, Zugarramurdi has become popularly known as 'The Town of the Witches'. To give insight into the events that took place in and around Zugarramurdi in the early 17th century, the former town hospital located on the edge of town nearest the caves was restored and opened as the Museum of Witchcraft of Zugarramurdi.
Museum: Opened in July 2007, the aim of the museum is to preserve the collective memory and the show visitors how people here have lived over the centuries. It pays tribute to the men and women who fell victim to a wave of insanity and hysteria, and to the authority of the Inquisition. It is a place of mourning and memory, a place to tell interesting stories in their proper context, darkness and light, a place to take a lighthearted look at history as it really was. Steering away from the folkloric image of witches, the Museum wants to explore the reality of the men and women who were accused of such far-fetched crimes, embroiled in fantastic stories and ultimately burnt at the stake.
And behind it all is a world of legend and mythology, with Mari and Aker as protagonists, amidst feasts and pagan rights that speak to us of the deep-rooted practice of folk medicine. Research projects by names including Florencio Idoate, Aita Barandiarán, Julio Caro Baroja, Gustav Heninngsen, José Dueso, J. Paul Arzac and Koro Irazoki have created the basis for this project, which brings together the need to protect our heritage while developing an attractive offer in tourism.
VÍDEO OF ZUGARRAMURDI