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.
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!)
tournament inside the Mir castle walls
One of the
largest in Europe assault Cross Bows in action
Pranool'" medieval dance
gave me to drink out of this 500 y.o. Duke's Water Well inside the castle. The water was
sweet and tasty.
Music by Antoni Radzivil - one of the former owners of the Mir castle.
My photos from the festival (click on photos to enlarge):
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.
Below - the "White Castle" tournament - photo by Egor Zhuchkov
Some Historical Pictures of Belarusian Knights
Battle of Grunwald (1410)
Joint Eastern European Forces (Right) are defeating Teutonic Knights Order (Left)
Battle of Orsha (1514)
Belarusians (Right) are driving Muscovy Army into Dnieper River.
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
This page is a part of the Virtual
Guide to Belarus - a collaborative project of Belarusian
scientists abroad. VG brings you the most extensive compillation of the information
about Belarus on the Web.
Please send your comments to the authors of VG to Belarus
History | Statehood | Culture | Law and Politics | Cities | Nature and Geography