The Medieval Festival of Brasov:
Seeing the World through the Eyes of the Medieval Man
Photo : Kazuki Shimada
Imagine experiencing a sparkle of the historical past in recent times. This is exactly what happened for the past week in the historical centre of Brasov, where a medieval festival brought together many chivalric orders from Romania and a lot of enthusiastic tourists. The event was organized by the order called the Knights of the Land of Burzenland, in partnership with the local council and a hotel from Brasov that owns the location.
Alex, a Brasovian who has been involved in the medieval activities since 2007, believes that ‘this medieval festival starts by hooking us with the romantic need for chivalric values, with the fascination that many of us have for the lost world of the Middle Ages, up to the point where we develop for ourselves a sense of historical accuracy and we become able to live the history’. In this respect, he pointed out that in fact ‘not all the knights from the past were positive characters, as we may like to think, or as we see in movies’. For him, the strong points during the festival were the realistic fights, the medieval music and dances and the fire shows in the evening. The festivities all in all represented ‘a good chance to see the world through the eyes of the medieval man’.
The festival was opened by a parade of nobles, knights, their companions, ladies, priests and monks, not to forget the witches. It was followed by the siege of the castle, when the warriors divided into two groups, with those from one side were defending the citadel, and the other half attempting to conquer it. After the battles that followed, each group camped inside the castle and so ended the main activities for the day. Gheorghe, one of the people in the audience, explained that he enjoys watching ‘medieval activities re-enacted’, like the series of fights, but he doesn’t regard this as an opportunity to learn history, as long as there ‘existed a commercial aspect to this, complete with with beer and mici (specific Romanian barbecued meat rolls)’. Apart from this, in the future he would like to see ‘more involvement on the part of the public into what happens at the festival’.
For the following days, the medieval retinue organized tournament demonstrations, theatrical representations that depicted witches being burned at the stake, the erection of a castle and a story about a Romanian ruler from the past, Mircea the Great, and his glorious deeds, while the medieval dances and music contributed to creating a historical environment. Alexandra, one of those who attended the festival as a spectator, liked very much ‘the fight of the knights and the fire show given by Hypnosis. The overall atmosphere developed in a medieval and welcoming manner’. To her, everything looked like a ‘history lesson’ from which she learned ‘how the artisans make their exhibits’. In the future, she would like to see ‘more involvement of the public in such activities as archery and medieval dances’ and also felt as a weak point ‘the lack of space’, since there were lots of medieval players and tourists. Still, for her, this festival remains ‘an important part in the history of the city, reminding us about ancient times and lost customs’.