pahonia.gif (10552 bytes)Belarusian Knighthood Tradition

The tradition of knighthood in Belarus dates to the creation of first Belarusian cities - around IX-X century. The State symbol of Belarus and Lithuania - Pahonia (Chase) - depicts a white knight on a horse, chasing an Enemy, with a sword risen above his head. The field's color is Red - which in Slavic tradition means Joy and Beauty. The White color of Knight symbolizes Purity. It's a pure knight in a joyous battle field.

rycazh.jpg (18630 bytes)At the end of XX century knights have begun to come back - with the own style of life, with an aspiration to tell about the history to another. So knightly clubs, and later - knightly tournaments and festivals have appeared.

In the past several years knights movement in Belarus was actively developing: for six years of existence of this movement the quantity of military-historical clubs has passed 30. Today it is possible to meet young men and girls in medieval costumes in city streets, and annual knightly tournaments and festivals became already a tradition in Belarus.

The main medieval festivals and knight tournaments in Belarus are held in Navahradak, Zaslaue (Zaslauski Nabat - Zaslaue Alarm Bell), Nyasvizh (Staradauni Nyasvizh - Old Time Nyasvizh), Mir, Loshycy (Loshycki Fest - Loshycy Fest), Druck, Miadzel', Bely Zamak - "White Castle".


Mir Castle Festival, June 2003

I have visited one of the knighthood tournaments held at Mir Castle Festival (June 2003). Here are few short movies and some pictures that I took there to introduce you to the atmosphere of the festival. The Mir festival is curated by Mr. Finberg, director of Belarusian State Pop-Symphony Orchestra. Quite a few ensemles actually have been presenting at the festival. There were several orchestras, dance ensembles, theatre troops. The idea was to present music and dances associated with Belarusian Renaissance epoque, Radziuvil family and their grandeur in XVI-XVII centuries, when they owned Mir castle. There were knighthood tournament, medieval dances, ballista and cross-bow shootings, traditional Belarusian puppet theatre, theatrical plays of the epoque. Local businesses have delivered enough tasty treates to keep a 2,000+ crowd happy :) Well, browse through some of the pictures and movies that I took and see what it was for yourself.

My movies from festival (click on image to download. Warning ~10Mb long!)

all_knights_at_once_icon.jpg (22168 bytes) Knight's tournament inside the Mir castle walls

bow-icon.jpg (28934 bytes) One of the largest in Europe assault Cross Bows in action

Konski_pranool_icon.jpg (11806 bytes) "Konski Pranool'" medieval dance

Stoodnia_icon.jpg (25016 bytes) Mikalaich gave me to drink out of this 500 y.o. Duke's Water Well inside the castle. The water was sweet and tasty.

antoni_radzivil_music_icon.jpg (21995 bytes) Early Music by Antoni Radzivil - one of the former owners of the Mir castle.

My photos from the festival (click on photos to enlarge):

arbalets.jpg (107187 bytes) batlejka.jpg (129995 bytes) camp.jpg (103875 bytes) catapulte.jpg (145894 bytes) concert.jpg (89829 bytes) crane.jpg (87699 bytes) gipsies.jpg (119583 bytes) girls1.jpg (61274 bytes) girls2.jpg (58778 bytes) girls3.jpg (57807 bytes) little-girl.jpg (95476 bytes) Mir_Eastern_Wall.JPG (68422 bytes) Mir_Gallery.JPG (79517 bytes) Palace_North-West.jpg (67636 bytes) Panorama_from_lake.jpg (118483 bytes) polonez.jpg (40514 bytes) rycazhy1.jpg (124011 bytes) rycazhy2.jpg (124168 bytes) rycazhy3.jpg (68820 bytes) rycazhy4.jpg (40261 bytes) rycazhy5.jpg (105793 bytes) spike.jpg (49226 bytes) theatre.jpg (80062 bytes) Tournament1.jpg (80143 bytes) Tournament2.jpg (89030 bytes)

tur4.jpg (21222 bytes) tur3.jpg (24800 bytes) tur1.jpg (17972 bytes)
These above photos are taken by S.Plytkevich at "Zaslavue Alarm Bell" Medieval Tournament, September 2003. The ones below are taken at the same event by Eugene Blacker of Minsk Review.

fest-07.jpg (39265 bytes)  fest-10.jpg (45830 bytes)

Below - the "White Castle" tournament - photo by Egor Zhuchkov

Bely_zamak.jpg (35066 bytes)


Some Historical Pictures of Belarusian Knights

grunwald_small.jpg (204020 bytes) Battle of Grunwald (1410)
Joint Eastern European Forces (Right) are defeating Teutonic Knights Order (Left)

Bitva_pad_Orshaj.jpg (195514 bytes) Battle of Orsha (1514)
Belarusians (Right) are driving Muscovy Army into Dnieper River.


Radzivils' Armory Treasures in Russian Museums
  "Knights to Remember" - an article from Belarusian Review
"Zaslaue Alarm Bell" - Knighthood competition in today's Belarus. More here.
Modern Knighthood Clubs and Medieval Fighting Clubs in Belarus (in Russian)

"Snow Leopard" Knight Club in Belarus
Belarusian Tryshchan - Medieval "Tristan and Izolda" translation in Old Belarusian.
Knighthood in Rzeczpospolita - Commonwealth of Poland and Lithuania (Old Belarus).
"Stary Olsa" - Belarusian medieval music group
Bibliography on Knighthood in Commonwealth of Poland and Lithuania (old Belarus) - Rzeczpospolita.
Arts of Combat and Chivalry - from SCA. Lots of links there.
A Military History of Belarusian Lands Up to the End of Twelfth Century By Jahor Novikaǔ 

Back to Belarusian Castles and Knighthood page

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