Saturday, July 2, 2016

Medieval battle in Sudak

Here's something that's popular in Ukraine: historical reenactments.

Most of them are pretty old school. Mongols versus the Kyivan Rus, knights versus dragons, Soviets versus German soldiers. You can find a whole list of them here. And here's a peek at the “Tu Stan!” Medieval Festival near Lviv.

Denis once went to the 70th anniversary of a WWII battle. He also took me along to my sole historical reenactment- a battle called Генуэзский шлем, Genoese Helmet at the Genoese fortress in Sudak, Crimea. It was August 2007 and the entire peninsula was packed with overheated vacationers.

The Genoese fortress is massive and about 600 years old. The coolest part are the turrets built at the very top of the hill. The view from there goes on for days! No wonder invaders had a hard time taking this place over.

This battle, though, took place on the flat, inner grounds of the fortress. It was kind of funny to see all the tourists wiped out by the heat while these reenactors walked around in chainmail and battled with axes. How did they manage it?

There was plenty of time to walk around and check everything out before the battle started.

I'm not exactly sure what the battle was supposed to be. There was a drunk pirate, a king, a dragon, and a bunch of knights and villagers. Sudak itself is a terribly ancient city that's been around for over 1,000 years longer than the fortress itself, so there are plenty of old battles to pick from. About the only thing they didn't put in this battle were Ottoman soldiers and orcs.

The final battle was a big showdown at the castle gates. (With dragon!)

We still have two souvenirs from Sudak- an admission ticket to the battle and the label from a local bottle of water that shows the fortress.

Genoese Helmet is scheduled to happen in Sudak again this August.


In the years since D and I visited, it looks like the event has grown quite a bit. It was named one of the "100 Best Events in Ukraine" (2012), a year in which more than 60,000 people visited the show. There are also some amazing pictures from last year's event (although the article mentioned "reasons" why the festival was not attended by the usual number of foreigners).

Have you ever been to a historical reenactment? Would you go to one in Ukraine?

Extra: more on that summer in Crimea.


  1. So interesting! I've never heard of such a thing in Ukraine. I almost started going to WWII reenactments in Cleveland, but then I never had a chance because I moved to Russsia. :)

    1. Hi Jasilyn! I wonder if there's anything like this that goes on near Ufa... maybe your boyfriend would know? But sounds like you're staying pretty busy this summer already! :)

  2. I can't believe I never knew about this re-enaction while I was in Kharkov. I would love to go back and see it!

    1. Privet Dacia! Sounds like cause for a return trip... ;)