Historical festivals in Slovakia

Historical Fencing     I’d like to write now about other festivals, festivals of historical fencing.

History of Europe is connected with many wars and wars are connected with warriors. When I stop to think of long-ago, when our ancestors run through ice plains of Europe to hound mammoths or yesteryear, when the wind blew away smell of gun-powder, there is so long time, when our dear ancestors hit together pell-mell.

In history, there exists period, which is more romantic than other, while nobody wants to live there. Dirt, famine, illnesses devastated all villages (black death, cholera, etc.). For invention of aspirin we have to wait for some centuries, same as for dental hygiene (toothbrush and paste are music of the future). To show there, for example with MP3 player or with notebook, you can wait tension on rack and then stake (it equals self-murder).

You can say: Of course, who would bring electronics to Middle Ages? Middle Ages. Dark period inclusive a few centuries and only few lights, which in the darkness lighten some events or persons, about we learned in the school (Battle of Hastings, Charles Great, Clovis I, 100-years war, Magna Charta, Joan of Arc, Marco Polo, Genghis Khan and his empire, etc.).

And what about some trifles, which are common used and we are unconscious of it. What about soap? OK, OK, soap was there, but not in that form, as we know it. It was so hard to wash with it. And why to wash? Hygiene wasn’t important and it wasn’t common standard in most parts of the world. Arabic world was better in this case.

Can you read? Of course, in the other way you would not be able to read this. This knowledge was, say openly, privilege of small group, same like writing. Knowledge about space, chemistry, biology and other sciences you can forget at home. These experiences should be very expensive for you and you could be nominated for charlatan or philologist. Both were dangerous and you could lose your life.

Despite of these negative facts, we are still fascinated by Middle Ages, with its stone guards in the mountains, with romantic of tournaments and heroism, with love to ladies of the court and troubadour’s songs.

KnightKnights, who were they? They were educated horse riders – warriors from aristocratic birth. They took part in crusades, which were declared to save God Grave from misbeliever’ s hands (the first crusade was declared by pop Urban II, in November 27, 1095, in Clermont, France).

Usually knights were younger sons, which were out of heritage. Besides knowledge to struggle, the knights had to know also soft art of courteous poetry, straightness, protection of ladies and pure people. Of course, no everybody professed it.

To be knight, boy began to prepare from his 7 years old. He started as a servant in some aristocratic house. Besides his service near tables his lord, he helped him to wear the plate and also he went with lord to battles or tournaments.

On tournaments, knights showed their experiences in war to receive favor and love of his lady. Maybe the famous knight was Richard Lion heart.

The meeting of two different cultures (European and Islamic) had also its positive impact. Thanks collision with high cultured East, to Europe had came paper, glass mirrors, carpets, carrier-pigeon, Arabic numbers, windmills, spinach, artichokes, eggplants, coffee, tea, oil and softie shoe too.

Even also Greek culture and the master works of ancient civilization as Greece or Egypt (Arabic savants translated all works to their language. Thanks to them, many works had been well preserved for next generation), knowledge of astronomy, math and other sciences, which helped to develop Europe science.

During crusades there were established some brotherhood. Their results were protection of wayfarers to Holy land. They took care of wayfarer’s finances. Between them, there were for example

Knights-TemplarKnights-Templar (The Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon),

Teutonic knightsTeutonic knights,

Knights HospitallerKnights Hospitaller (also known as the Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of St. John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta).


Templars became the most powerful from these brotherhoods. During years they climbed to Banker of Europe. This position was disfavor of French king Philip IV, the most powerful monarch. He impeached them from the worst offences and heresy. Many hundreds of Knights were busted and after tortures they were burned at the stakes. Grand Master of brotherhood, Jacques de Molay, invited both king Philip IV of France and Pope Clement V to ordeal within a year. We know, that his divination became the true and both died to the end of year (Pope only 1 month later, king after hunting accident before the end of the year.)

In the 14-th century, after crusade’s cancel, knights became to honest courtiers. Tournaments were organized even few years, but the period of knights was closed forever.

Knight and his lady     In same time with knights, there grew troubadour tradition. Its origin can be founded in south France, in Poitier, on the court of Eleanor Aquitaine, the mother of Richard Lionheart. The troubadours traveled through Europe, visited the honor courts and castles and everywhere they sing or speak about romantic love to ladies, gallantry, religious and knight exploits.

Same as in other places of Europe, there are many fans in Slovakia. They established many bands of historical fencing. Their art is presented on festivals, which are usual on many Slovak castles, on different anniversaries or celebrations. Their shows are always very fascinated and always have a lot of viewers.

In Festivals, besides shows of battles horse riders or beetle-crushers, there are presentation of historical dances, music, and music instruments and also demonstrations of historical activities and production (smithery, ceramic ware, knitting of baskets, bobbin lace work, etc.) Sometime, there are possibilities for viewers to try some activities such as knitting, bobbin, shooting from bow, ceramic ware, horse riding, carpet making, painting of gingerbreads etc. These creative workshops are very popular for adults and also for children.
At the evening there starts fire show.

Calendar of Historical Festivals:

Date Place Name
May 01 – September 01. 2008 Trenčín Period camp with shooting range a kitchen on Trenčín castle
May 03. 2008 Košice Košice days, Weapon jangle in Abov
May 24. – 25. 2008 Stará Ľubovňa Season opening in Stará Ľubovňa
May 17. – 18. 2008 Červený Kameň Festival of historical fencing, music, dance and crafts Červený Kameň 2008
May 31. – September 06. 2008 Trenčín Night competition on Trenčín castle
June 18. – September 09. 2008 Bratislava Cultural Summer and castle celebration
July 28. – August 03. 2008 Trenčín Castle celebration 2008 – Historical celebration 2008
August 29. – 31. 2008 Devín Festival of historical fencing, music, dance and crafts Devín 2008
October 20. – November 10. 2008 Fencing symposium + Ball of Fencers


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One Response to Historical festivals in Slovakia

  1. Alison says:

    This sounds really interesting, wish I could come!

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