Vyborg Medieval Festival

Vyborg Medieval Festival

Vyborg Castle near St. Petersburg, Russia

July 31 – August 3, 2011

Vyborg is a small town in the north of Leningrad region, it is 140 km from St. Petersburg and just 30 km from the Russian — Finnish borderline. In the tourist guides it is described as “the only European town on the territory of the Russian Federation”. If translated from Swedish, it means the “Saint City”.

Located on the Karelian isthmus, Vyborg Castle was built in 1293 by the Lord High Constable of Sweden, Torkel Knutsson, to protect the waters which were important for trade. By the XVIII century Vyborg Castle began to decay and it was taken by the Russians in 1710. A century later in 1812 Vyborg was seized by the Finnish, who began restoration works. In 1944 the land was annexed by Russia – it happened during World War II. Today it is a museum and a venue of various concerts, folk festivals, and outdoor fests. The Knights’ Tournament is a very popular attraction here, as well as the Vyborg Castle Serenades.

A castle on the island, a Town Hall tower, a fortress, paved roads, medieval structures of the Old City, the picturesque park with a French name and a mansion house of the XIX century – all this allows to call Vyborg a museum town.

Every summer the fans of historical reconstruction gather in the Vyborg Castle. Horseback riding and hiking tournaments are held on the square of the fortress, just as over six centuries ago. These medieval tournament enthusiasts have completely recreated weapons of that time, and they annually demonstrate the reconstruction of the fighting. The only difference is that the swords are not sharpened to avoid injuries in combat. But the other things similar to the original ones, i.e., the weight of weapons and armor, helmets and shields. Everything is made according to the ancient technologies. The complete outfit for a knight weighs about 110 pounds. These riders can be called the real victims of medieval fashion.

During the festival blacksmiths and pot makers demonstrate their skills in making armor and pottery. The festival visitors will be able to ride horses, to compete in archery, to try on knights’ armor, to enjoy the medieval music and to participate in dances of those times. It will also be of great interest to taste the dishes from medieval cuisine.

There are not so many places where you can plunge in the medieval atmosphere. If you happen to be in St. Petersburg at this period, you have a chance to enjoy this unforgettable event!