The witch hunts in Europe during the Middle Ages and Early Modern period were a tragic chapter of history, and Maribor, like many cities, was affected by this phenomenon. 

  • Witch Trials in Slovenia: Slovenia, like many parts of Europe, experienced the fervor of witch hunts. It is estimated that about a thousand people were executed on charges of witchcraft in the Slovenian lands. The first recorded witch trial in Slovenia is that of Veronica of Desenice in 1425. Her trial, which resulted in acquittal, signaled the start of the witch hysteria in the region.
  • Victims and Accusations: The majority of those accused and executed were women, though men, children, and even clergy were not exempt. Witches were often scapegoats for various calamities such as diseases, natural disasters, and poor harvests. Accusations and executions of witches notably increased during periods of social upheaval.
  • Witch Trials in Maribor: The witch hunt phenomenon was also present in Maribor. One notable event occurred in 1546 when ten people were burned at the stake on the same day.
  • End of Witch Trials: As society and attitudes evolved, skepticism grew over witch trials, leading to their decline. Some towns, burdened by the cost of the trials, chose to discontinue them for practical reasons, while others began to denounce the practice on moral grounds. In the 18th century, Empress Maria Theresa officially ended the practice of witch burnings in the Austrian Empire, which included present-day Slovenia. Despite this, isolated incidents continued until around 1746.
  • Legacy: The witch trials have left an enduring impact on Slovenian culture, with witches playing a significant role in local folklore and fairy tales. Today, the town of Ribnica hosts a permanent exhibition in the Miklova Hiša museum dedicated to the history of witch trials, serving as a somber reminder of this period.

Witch hunts had a profound impact on Maribor, as they did on much of Europe.