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| Home | Travel | Military History Tourism | Medieval battles and knights' festivals

Medieval battles and knights' festivals in Belarus

Reconstruction of a medieval battle near Mir Castle
Reconstruction of a medieval battle near Mir Castle

Since time immemorial the Belarusians have had to fight to defend their land against enemies from the East and the West. Today expositions in museums and castles, and reconstruction battles help return back to the days of influential princes and brave warriors.

The remarkable medieval battles where Belarusian ancestors took part and which are reenacted in the present-day medieval festivals include:

  • the Battle of Krutogorye (present-day Dzerzhinsk, Minsk Oblast) in 1249 when the troops of the Belarusian dukes  celebrated a victory over Tatar Mongols;
  • the Battle of Grunwald (Poland) in 1410 where the soldiers of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania fought with the Teutonic knights;
  • the battle of Orsha against the troops of the Grand Duchy of Moscow in 1514;
  • the Livonian War (1558 – 1583)…

Many Belarusian cities had defensive towers donjons in the Middles Ages. Only one of them survived to the present days – Kamenetskaya Tower on the outskirts of the Belovezhskaya Pushcha. Being one of the rare erections of the 13th century, which survived numerous invasions, it has been inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List.

The list includes three Belarusian fortified temples:

  • Church of Saint John the Baptist  in the village of Kamai,
  • Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin in the village of Murovanka,
  • Church of Saint Michael in the village of Synkovichi.

And, of course, the memory of the war events is kept by almost all the Belarusian castles, survived and restored or turned into mysterious ruins:

Old Belarusian estates host festivals of medieval history and knights’ tournaments all the year round. The most famous events are:

  •  the festival of medieval culture Golshany Castle (the village of Golshany, Oshmyany District, May);
  • the international festival of Slavonic martial arts (Grodno, May);
  • the festival of medieval culture Rubon (Polotsk, May);
  • the international history festival Legacy of Centuries (Mir Castle, June);
  • the Mstislavl Knights Festivals (Mstislavl, July);
  • the international festival Our Grunwald (Dudutki, July);
  • the Krevo Castle Festival (the village of Krevo, Smorgon District, August);
  • the international knights festival White Castle (Ostroshitsky Gorodok, Minsk District, August);
  • the knights festival Sword of Lida Castle (Lida, September);
  • the international festival of medieval culture Novogrudok Castle (Novogrudok, September);
  • the international history festival Ancient Minsk (September).

Visitors of Belarus can travel back in time to the era of ancient Vikings who travelled from West to East by the famous route From the Varangians to the Greeks and even became the rulers of Belarusian lands. Lida District authorities are currently implementing the project to set up the open air museum Settlement upon the Neman River featuring the life of Eastern Slavs, Balts and Vikings.

In 2014 Belarus hosted the first sailing festival of early medieval culture From the Varangians to the Greeks. The festival included a many-day-long sailing expedition of ships created using ancient drawings and documents and numerous cultural events in a number of towns.

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