This last Sunday, I went off to the Morava valley in search of Veligrad – the old capital of the Slavic princedom of Great Moravia that appears to have existed between 800-1000 or thereabouts. The name is probably derived from the words Big or Great (Velky) and Castle (Hrad) and descriptions of the place – though few and far between – suggest the place had massive walls and was impregnable. The issue is that the Slavs didn’t write much down….
According to many archeologists, the most likely site is Stary Mesto next to Uherske Hradiste on the River Morava. In fact, the entire river valley seems to have been dominated by a number of settlements in that era. Prior to leaving on my trip, I had done quite a bit of research online. The first part of the trip was to just outside of Kyjov in search of a ‘mountain’ called Naklo. This is an alternate site for Velegrad that hasn’t much support but…. this area was a smoking set of mud volcanoes often with natural fires burning as hydrocarbons escaped. To the east was a desert that existed until 150 or so years ago and was said to be like the Sahara – dunes and all! To the west of it were iron works and iron mines. Combined with a story of dragons about a Naklo, this seemed to me to be an interesting area. It was but more on it in another post!
From there, we drove another 55km to Stare Mesto. 55km! So this area inhabited by Slavic tribes was actually rather large! On arrival, we first went to visit the ruins of a Slavic church on the hillside overlooking Uherske Hradiste. Notes in English helped me understand what we were seeing. A little bit of dowsing established that an energy line appeared to run East-West straight down the length of the church!
In some descriptions of the city of Veligrad, reference is made to three distinctive hills in the background and from here, these could clearly be seen. We then visited a cemetery in Stare Mesto where another building was to be viewed and close by to that a series of posters informed as to the city of Velegrad including reference to those walls!
There is also a museum but of course, at the moment, that is firmly closed.
We then drove a little further to Modra – a town close to the current Velehrad. Here, there is an open air museum showing how life in a Slavic settlement of that era might have looked. Surprisingly, it was open – perhaps unofficially – but we explored the place and I was struck by the standard of workmanship. It truly is worth a visit. I cannot image that the Slavs were clean people though…..
By the museum, I had also heard that another church had been unearthed and we quickly found this and the modern mock up of how that church may have looked.
The three hills could also be clearly seen in the distance.
Today’s Velehad and its basilica were built a tad later and the site has become a place of pilgrimage and for me, a place of Earth energies always worthy of a visit. Today, however, we made a quick drive past Modra to revisit the King’s Table…. a stone circle that was referenced in the 11th Century and certainly is older than that. In the neauty, peace and atmosphere of the King’s Table I spent some moments in quiet meditation remembering a special person who I know would have loved to have visited it… and perhaps she was there in spirit?
Of course, I had used this image for the cover of my book Chasing Dragons in Moravia which, together with Chasing the Shaman, form an account of how I got interested in connecting with the land and how magic is to be found in Moravia.