Just outside Osijek this past Saturday was a medieval fair camped at the Historical Fortress Kolođvar. This was the fourth consecutive year of “Return of knights to Fortress Kolođvar” (Povratak vitezova na utvrdu Kolođvar) bringing out Knights, Archers, Maidens and the Princess. The event started at 16:00 and carried on throughout the night with medieval entertainers. With the participation of Knights in the program from various parts of Croatia and Hungary. It was a fun-filled night with plenty of food, with “Grah” (meat and bean soup) being the main dish. The event brought out the best in the surrounding communities as it was well organized and full of life
Throughout the evening there was always a live performance with School of Swords and Archery to start the action learning about the features and how things were made. With the guidance of the masters demonstrating the drills that used to be performed. With the chance to wield a sword and feel its true weight and strength is impossible to resist both young and old. The Sound of swords clanging with a solid blow to the armor made the audience cheer as the Knights battled around the fortress. What was even more incredible was the Knights took time to explain the tactics of how to wield the sword properly and maintain balance and control.
With only a small break in between the action, the next event was up watching the Knight’s battle. The audience got just a rare glimpse into the past, witnessing the difficult task of suiting up the knights for battle. The weight alone of the armor itself required the assistance of their steward to help with the proper fitting of the helmet. Even as the sun was setting the heat of the day caused the knights to feel the physical task of swinging the heavy blade in combat. Watching them battle in training practice without full force reminded the audience of how difficult it was to move around in amour.
The children played an import role as night set. They had a great opportunity by chance to participate with the knights in a comedy-drama/battle. The head night had a lot of fun with this as he brought humour and fun to the children putting them to the task. With the children racing down the hill to fortress battleground to get swords and shields had the chance of being part of the show. Imagine 30 or more children of all ages swinging a sword and the chance to chase down the villain. In the video, they actually took part in playing the role of a heroic knight.
There was more to the Return of knights to the Fortress Kolođvar then just battles. There was the art of Archery, where guests had the chance to learn how to be an Archer. With the guidance and patience of a professional Archer walking them through careful instructions on how to draw the arrow aiming at the target circle. There were lots to see for young and old had a chance to look at the armor up close with the opportunity to wear some of the pieces. The Knights helped out with the difficult task as weight alone of the chest plate was too heavy for some of the younger children. The amazing thing for many was they could actually ask questions about things being able to see up close and not just from a textbook. With the theme of Knights, people were able to buy some great wooden swords and shields on location made from people living in the area.
Most of the fortified tower still stands in ruins with time passing by it was not until the late 20th century that was gained as valuable culture landmark. The first thing noticeable is that was some indication that there used to be a raising and lowering of a drawbridge as there is a bit of a landing entering into the tower. It would of be of great help if it was carefully reconstructed because one must first walk down a deep sloping ditch and then back up through a staircase. Only a few arches were reconstructed with the bricks decaying and mortar crumbling. There are some of the floors plans still visible through the overgrowth of vegetation. The rooms were mostly small in size and being inside the circular tower give way to the irregular room construction. With the historical facts of big hanging frames about the tower, it provided many bits and piece of historical facts and legends of Kolođvar. It is interesting to note that the tower survived many battles that it has seen from its first with the Turks dating back to November 25, 1573. It has since that date seen many battles to follow and the most threatening was urban expansion. A reference as to how modern living used the bricks causing the structure more damage.
Notes “The people from surrounding settlements broke the walls and carried the bricks to homes.1967. The Institute for the Protection of Cultural Monuments from Osijek begins protective works. Until 1970 g the vegetation and the collapsed material were removed, and the overturned arches were restored” Reference translation from (http://www.tzosijek.hr/povratak-vitezova-na-utvrdu-korodvar-425)
The importance of having Return of knights to Fortress Kolođvar
The history of the many different parts of Croatia has become a real archaeological significance of tracing the cultural heritage in recent years. Osijek and surrounding areas have recently achieved in finding new historical evidence of past civilizations dating back to the Roman Empire, coming to surface in the area of Osijek and surrounding communities in recent years.
Without the historical medieval events, the tower would not have continued to gain recognition and inspire more people to visit and learn about these historical landmarks. Inspiring schools to have field trips or University archaeology excursions in the further examining the nature of the structure connecting to the past. The Kolođvar tower exemplifies the medieval architecture
How to get to Kolođvar
The location is just 15 minutes outside Osijek with the medieval fortress standing in ruins. To get there you need to head to Čepin and drive along the street Osijeka Ul and make a turn to street Krbavsaka that will take you to Ivanovac. It is important to note if you reach the small town of Ivanovac you missed it by one minute. The road is more or less a gravel path with some large rocks surrounded by fields. The thing to watch out for is the small sign written “Utvrdu Kolođvar”
Supporting notes Kolođvar was built on a hill in the swamp where a prehistoric settlement existed, and thereafter a Roman military camp. It was sometime later with history first written about the land being given from the Kolođvar family in 1290 that the tower was built. Ref: http://www.opcina-antunovac.hr/povratak-vitezova-na-utvrdu-kolodvar-2016/