Welcome to the Middle Ages!

Festival of medieval traditions and culture held in Bulgaria’s Mezdra

Photo: Vency Krystev

They call Mezdra "a town born of history". At this place in northwestern Bulgaria a fortified village existed in the 4th millennium BC. Later the Kaleto Fortress was erected at the same place. These days the restored and preserved archaeological complex of "Kaleto" has been welcoming tourists. From May 16th to May 19th, the 5th Festival of Medieval Traditions and Culture organized by the management team of the complex, the Mezdra Municipality and the Avitohol Association for preservation of Bulgarian traditions, takes place.

“The idea was born four years ago in order to promote the complex and to attract attention of the society,” Yordan Manchev, part of the PR team of the Mezdra Municipality, says. “Interest in the site has been growing not only during festival days. For the first time this year we have a partnership with colleagues from Romania, from the town of Dobrosloveni who will be our guests and we will visit their festival in August. They will be presenting the late antiquity and the time of the Roman era.”

Participants from all over Bulgaria will take part in spectacular shows and will show the way of life, traditions and rituals of our ancestors. Clothing, protective and offensive armament and equipment of Bulgarians from the early Middle Ages, as well as their temporary housing – yurts; combat practices and skills; the military campaigns of Bulgarians from the Middle Ages; knights in our lands; long-time opponents of the Bulgarians on the battlefield – the Romans, are all included. The program of the four-day festival also includes screenings of films that were part of festivals, dedicated to the Middle Ages or the Roman Empire, held in Bulgaria and Romania.

“In the framework of the festival there will medieval food served, thanks to Petya Krusheva, who will prepare unique medieval delicacies,” Yordan Manchev tells us. “You can also try the traditional alcoholic beverage called ‘mead’. Everyone will be able to mint their coins and watch the creation of late antique and medieval jewelry. People will be able to get acquainted with medieval dances and, of course, participate in them; watch reenactments of battles and test their weapons and equipment. One of the most serious attractions that will be presented in the archaeological complex is a battle for the fortress bridge.”

Training for youngsters and children in archery and demonstration of the possibilities of medieval weapons, the unique atmosphere filled with old music in the performance of the groups "FREIJA" and "KsANa", as well as the detailed costumes, will immerse visitors in history and they will be able to experience the life and culture of societies that inhabited the fortress in various ages.

“Every year the interest in the complex and the activities here rises. The last few editions of the festival were visited by more than 5,000 people. This year we have requests for 8-9 thousand guests within the four days.

The diversity of the festival and the rich program inevitably attracts more and more people, and the fact that the festival is held for a fifth year, is a proof of this,” Yordan Manchev says.

English: Alexander Markov

Photos: private library

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