Laughter of past age resurrected with love

International Festival of Medieval Culture and Music revives entertainments of five centuries ago

By Yelena Krypunova

Ostroshitsky Gorodok suburb, near Minsk, became a medieval city for three days, boasting a White Castle (giving its title to the festival), equestrian competitions and archery, axe and knife throwing, camping places and a hall for dancing. In all, 450 knights from Belarus, Russia, Lithuania and Ukraine attended, joined by their beautiful ladies, musicians and dancers, fire dancers and numerous guests. Various epochs neighboured each other during the holiday: from the time of Richard the Lionheart to Louis XIV. Around six centuries separate these historical ages but knights from various medieval periods managed to exist simultaneously, holding jousts and battling on foot, despite heavy rain on the final day.

Various trophies were awarded, sometimes unexpectedly. Alongside traditional awards to winners — swords, helmets and shields — a knight’s ‘Oscar’ was given (a small statuette of a wandering knight on a horse).

Guests were able to view how the medieval city would have functioned, while becoming part of its rich tapestry. Not everyone came in costumes replicating those of five hundred years ago, but the campsite was busy with visitors who were keen to try their hand at archery or axe or knife throwing. Local troubadours provided musical entertainment while hen catching proved one of the more humorous entertainments. A tournament for knights on horses concluded the wonderful festival.

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