A KNIGHT’S TALE
Armoured knighs galloping on powerful steeds crashing their lances against the shields of opponents may sound like figures from history or Hollywood movies. Yet they can be seen in action this july at the Kaltenberg Tournament. The event is held at schloss Kaltenberg, just west of Munich, and is the biggest medieval festival in the world. Knights in shinning armour, falconry, jesters juggling and eating fire, all feature in the tournament, which was first held in 1980 and has subsequently grown markedly. For the duration of the tournament, more than 1,200 pepole don period costumes and reside in a medieval-style village on the normally quite location set in a rolling Bavarian farmland.
Kaltenberg castle, was built in 1292, a time when tournaments were held so that knights could complete for honour and practice their military skills in controlled condition. There’s even historical evidence that stunt-riding was a feature of tournaments in the thirteenth and fourteenth counties. Those events would have attracted entertainers, musicians and people selling goods, food.
A SLICE OF HISTORY
One of the aims of today’s tournament is to evoke a feel of medieval fairs and tournaments. The costumes and armour that visitors can see at Kaltenberg span the Middle Ages; the aim is not to recreate life in a specific yea but to provide a sense of how things were in bygone days. Activities such as leather tanning even provide glimpses of how urban life would have been back then. Visitors can see craftsmen such as blacksmiths and musical instrument makers at work and learn about the time and effort that went into producing goods made by craftsmen in the pre-industrial era; people even have opportunities to ask questions.
MEN AT WORK
The tournament is known locally as the Kaltenberger Ritterturnier and runs from 13 to 28 July. It was Prince Luitpold of Bavaria, the great-grandson of the last Bavarian monarch, king Ludwig III, who initiated the first of these tournaments by inviting a group of British Jousters to Germany in the summer of 1980. These days, the jousting is undertaken by some of the world’s best stunt riders on Andalusian Horses. The shattering of lances and falls from the saddle take place at full tilt, making for a spectacular show in an arena that seats 9,000 spectators and he room for 4,000 standing viewers. The sand-covered floor of the arena ensures that the show can go ahead even if the weather does not meet the usual sunny expectations of a Bavarian Summer.
KALTENBERG TOURNAMENT INFORMATION
Day time shows at the Kaltenberg Tournament will be held on 14,15,21,22 and 29 July. The castle grounds open at 11.00 am, the tournament starts at 3.30 Pm, and entertainment by Jesters Continues until 7.30 Pm.
Evening shows will taken place on 13, 20 and 28 July. The castle grounds open at 4.00 pm, the tournament starts at 8.00 pm, while entertainment by Jesters Continues until midnight. A jesters Evening will be held on 27th July, with the grounds opening at 6.00 pm and closing at 2.00 am.
Entry to the tournament costs between 2 (Euro), for standing tickets, and 59(Euro), for seats in covered boxes, plus booking charges. Tickets can be ordered via the www.ritterturnier.de website or by calling +49 (0) 1805 11 33 13.
To find out more about the Kaltenberg Tournament, visit the event’s official website www.ritterturnier.de.
THE CARNIVAL’S HERE
The shattering of lances and falls from the saddle take place at full tilt, making for a spectacular show in an arena that seats 9,000 spectators and has room for 4,000 standing viewers.
Over the past 32 years, more than two million people have visited the Kaltenberg Tournament . The centerpiece of the event is the spectacular show featuring jousting, supported by Pyrotechnics. The action takes place within the context of a story. This year, the tale being told is the third instalment of a trilogy inspired by Arthurian Legends. King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table come up against the dark powers of Mordred in a classic tale of good against evil.
Visitors who prefer music and magic to flashing blades and galloping knights will probably find the Jester’s Evening, on 27th July, more to their taste. Bands including Furunkulus, Tanzwut and Die Streuner will be performing throughout the tournament. The village has been stages on which musicians, magicians and jugglers can perform. The jesters can also be seen in the parade held in the arena ahead of the show.
The tournament has broad appeal, attracting families as well as culturally aware adults seeking a fun day or evening out.
Go Air, Spice Jet, Air Costa, Air India, Indi Go, Jet Air and Jet Konnect has flights to Brussels from Chennai, Delhi, Mumbai, New York and Toronto. From here, you can fly to Munich with Brussels Airlines. From Munich, trains run between central Munich and Geltendro station, which is about 40 km away and is nearest stop to Kaltenberg Castle. From there special buses run, shuttling visitor to the tournament.
While Geltendorf doesn’t offer too many options, visitors can opt to book into hotels like the 3-star Hotel Sonnenhof, Whch is about 15 km rom Schloss Kaltenberg.