The Early German Settlement of North Eastern Moravia: and What the Pied Piper of Hamelin Had to Do with It

Pied Piper of Hamelin

Pied Piper of HamelinThe Early German Settlement of North Eastern Moravia: and What the Pied Piper of Hamelin Had to Do with It 

Frank Soural

FEEFHS Journal: Volume 10 (2002)


Long ago, primordial forests, dark and impenetrable, surrounded the mountainous frontier, which today separates northeastern Bohemia from large parts of northern Moravia in the Czech Republic. This area was situated north of the sparsely populated flatlands of the March (Morava) River. The stillness of the forests remained largely undisturbed by man. More than two thousand years ago, the Celts and other Germanic tribes had their settlements there. They built their longhouses in the valleys. Most, however, moved on leaving little evidence except a few shards and burial urns and perhaps a few remnants of human existence in the early villages. During this period, the ancient “Amber Road”, dating back to antiquity, was the primary trade route linking the eastern Baltic Sea with the Danube in Vienna and the port of Trieste in Italy.


This road – a trail would be a more apt description – wound its way through the Moravian heartland near where the cities of Olmütz and Mährisch Trübau stand today. Except for the sparse trading traffic and a few way stations between the odd monastery and baronial estate, the land remained essentially pristine and silent. The first attempts at colonization may have been orchestrated during the late middle ages by Heinrich Zdik (1126-1150). Zdik was the seventh in a long line of bishops of Olmütz. Surviving documents indicate that, around the seat of Zdik’s Bishopric, several villages were established. Nimlau, Meedl, Bladowitz, Habicht and Müglitz were among these villages. It is possible that Müglitz may be much older than that. The name appears to originate from the Celtic word “mogul” meaning “burial mound”. This is reflected in the German name Müglitz, as well as its Czech equivalent Mohelnice.

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