Postcard from... Czocha


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The Independent Online

Clad in robes and pointed hats, would-be sorcerers wave their wands and cast spells as they hone their magic skills at their very own College of Wizardry.

In scenes inspired by Hogwarts from the Harry Potter fantasy series, the students mix potions, tame magical creatures roaming the nearby forest, explore hidden basements and visit taverns.

Czocha Castle, in western Poland, opened its doors this week to 130 would-be witches and wizards for a four-day live-action role play inspired by JK Rowling’s books.

The participants, who have travelled to the castle from 17 countries, range in age from 18 to 60. Each paid $375 (£256) to attend the event, where they take on the role of students and teachers – and ghosts.

As in Rowling’s fictional world, where the young Potter learns about wizardry at Hogwarts while fighting off the dark arts, students are sorted into houses named after people with strong associations to magic – in this case Durentius, Faust, Libussa, Molin and Sendivogius.

They are given wizardry school books and follow a curriculum made up of classes such as “Physical Defence”, “Magical Theory” and “Geomancy”. Rules are in place to simulate magic: if you think a spell is “cool”, you play along.