Витва на Неве / Batle on the Neva
Hear ye, hear ye! Good Ladies and gentle Sirs, it is time to raise your standards, don your finest garb, and head to the lists to enjoy that most regal of spectacles, ye olde medieval tournament!
This weekend, if you head to the banks surrounding the Peter and Paul Fortress, you’ll be transported back in time to a period before this city even existed, back to a time of lords and ladies, chivalry, plagues, and, most importantly, knights. Битва на Неве (Battle on the Neva) is an annual celebration of all things medieval. Every year top historical reenactors, medieval martial arts experts, musicians, and performers all come together to put on a one of a kind show.
The Battle on the Neva tournament ground is spread over two rings, the larger jousting lists and the smaller melee ring. Different events will be happening in these two rings over the two days of the tournament.
The jousting lists, as the larger of the two spaces, has the most diverse progrmamme. If you head to the lists on the first day of the tournament, you’ll be able to watch a variety of Horse exercises, musical performances, theatrical displays, interactive shows, and, of course, jousting. On the second day there will be more jousting, more music and more theatre, as well as a three round melee competition. With rounds entitled “Capture the Flag”, “Defend the Gate”, and “to the death”, it promises to be quite a show.
Over on the other side of the grounds in the melee ring the majority of events will be dedicated to fighting. Head over there on day one to see armoured knights battle it out in one on one duels, 5 v. 5 tournaments (men’s and women’s), a 12 v. 12 tournament, and what the event’s official site calls a “mass dismounted battle”. On day two, the ring will play host to several modernised forms of medieval combat. There will be tournaments for HMB Soft (Historical Medieval Battle Soft - Medieval fighting with padded weaponry and shields), HEMA (Historical European Martial Arts – an attempt to accurately reconstruct historical European armed fighting techniques) as well as a spear and shield tournament.
Other forms of entertainment
Other than the tournament itself you will also find a few other forms of medieval entertainment around the fortress. Before you get to the fighting you’ll have to walk through a large medieval market place, where you can buy coins, jewellery, forged metal work, and even weapons if you don’t mind the hassle of trying to get them back through customs. There are also normally a number of small workshops where you can try out different medieval arts and crafts for yourself. If you’re planning on spending a long time looking around, beware the many different volunteer performers you might find lurking amongst the stalls; if your not feeling confident in your Russian the last thing you want is for two medieval beggar women to accost you in the middle of a crowded market.
The best thing about the Battle on the Neva Event is that it is absolutely free. Entry and watching the events are both cost not a single penny, the only time you’ll need to touch your wallet is if your decide to buy food or something from the market. So if you’re looking for something a little bit different to do this weekend, you’ve got nothing to lose.