My Prague (9): Battle of the nations (b): Fallen Soldiers

Read more about this full contact sport on my first post on the Battle of the nations. Click on each photo to enlarge it! Today I want to concentrate on the fallen soldiers (we are still focusing on the category ‘Group Battles’ 5 vs. 5). According to the general regulations, a fighter is ‘removed from battle’ when:

a) ‘He is “grounded”, i.e. he touches the surface of the lists with the third point of support (body, buttocks, arm, knee, shield, etc.). The rule applies if a fighter falls down together with an opponent.’ (‘important: Two basic supporting points for a battle are feet.’)

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b) ‘His legs leave the designated combat area or he falls or is forced outside the lists.’

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c) ‘An element of protective equipment (used to protect joints, head, hands, groin, or neck, and also serves to protect a large area), is broken or lost.’


d) ‘He touches the ground fighter with his body or buttocks.’

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e) ‘Continues attacking actions without a weapon in his hand (shield is not a weapon).’

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‘Important: When the fighter falls on his opponent and touches with the third supporting point (except for body and buttocks) only his opponent, who lies under him, the fighter is not considered as fallen.’

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My Prague (8): Battle of the nations (a): Category ‘Group Battles’ 5 vs. 5

The Battle of the Nations 2016 World Championship was held for the second year in Prague, on the Petrin hill. The historical medieval battle (HMB) is a full contact sport, probably the oldest, the roughest and the most bloodiest one (I didn’t even know by last Sunday that something like this was legal). We met a Moldovan fighter who told us that the previous day there were a lot of injured people, and allegedly two men were transported in a coma to the hospital (we were not able to verify the info, but the Moldovan fighter showed us his large scars from the previous years and the numerous surgeries he had, so we tend to believe him). The battle involves any kind of steel weapon that existed in the Middle Ages (swords, axes, hatchets, halberds, scepters, etc.). On the Czech website they say that for safety reasons all weapons are blunt, but I had a closer look and they didn’t seem really blunt to me (in several rounds many clothes were cut by different weapons). Anyway, you can read more about the rules and regulations on the official website.

Read about the championship on Wikipedia, on the official site or on the Czech site (in English). Watch a short 10-minutes movie made by VICE INTL about the 2013 World Championship hosted by France.

There were five full days of battles, from Thursday, the 5th of May until Monday, the 9th of May. On Sunday, the 8th of May, we bought tickets for the second block (six hours of fighting, from 15:00 to 21:00). And so we had the chance to watch the ‘Men’s category Group Battles 5 vs. 5 (Playoffs)’, the ‘Man’s Category “Duel” 1 vs. 1 (Playoffs)’, ‘Women’s Category “Group Battles” 3 vs. 3’ and finally an unexpected (because unannounced) ‘All Against All’ show – actually, a battle between the winning team in the ‘Women Group Battles’ category (Ukraine) and an international women team.

Now back to the photos: it was really difficult to select only a few out of the 850 photos made during the six hours (my all-time record, I guess):) But I will start today a 5-episodes series. Today I will post photos on the ‘Men’s category Group Battles 5 vs. 5 (Playoffs)’. The next posts will be on the fallen soldiers, then on the ‘Man’s Category “Duel” 1 vs. 1’, then on portraits of some fighters, and finally one post on the bystanders (many of whom were also dressed in medieval suits). Unfortunately, because it was too late and dark, the photos of the women’s category cannot be used. [Click on each photo to enlarge it!]

Russia vs. Canada

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Germany vs. Israel (quite a game, giving the recent history – and Israel won!)

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France vs. Italy

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Do not remember these countries, but giving the ‘three lions’ heraldic design (belonging to Richard the Lionheart) probably those in black represent the United Kingdom. And I guess those in red are Polish fighters.

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Other countries I am not remembering of…

And here is Moldova’s team (the Russian Moldovan fighter we met asked us why Romania doesn’t have any team – didn’t know what to answer)… He also told us that since the beginning (the first World Championship was held in 2009 in Kharkiv, Ukraine) in both men and women categories Russia is always the winner and Ukraine comes in the second place. His explanation is that it all depends on the number of fighters a country relies on – as an example, Russia can make a selection (for the World Championship) out of more than 600 fighters, while in Moldova there are maximum 15 fighters…

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Ukraine, one of the best teams, beats Poland (I guess…)

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Germany vs. France, Germany wins – as always:)
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UK vs. some other country I am not remembering of…

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And since I was talking about injuries, there was no serious one on the day we’ve been there. Still, at one point the ambulance was called, as a preventive measure:

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And here is the overcrowded arena:

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And finally, some part of their (expensive) gear. The photo was shot during the ‘Women’s Category “Group Battles” 3 vs. 3’.

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My Prague (7): Prague’s Witches’ Night festival

Each year on the 30th of April Prague is engaged in witch burning (pálení čarodějnic). Read more about the event here, here and here. We couldn’t pay too much attention to this event since this year on the same day we had the Orthodox Easter, but we still found some time to get some snapshots. Below, two (very modern, I guess) witches posing for the cameras.


Witches are trained. You have to start when you’re young…


And witchcraft is hereditary, of course!


Witchcraft can also be flower-power, with all those beers and stuff…


And yes, witches must also eat. They roast sausages over a blazing fire:)


And here are the best two witches on the Vltava’s island this year (sorry for the grainy photos, it was really dark)!



My Prague (6): Orthodox Easter in Prague

Yes, yesterday we finally found the Romanian Orthodox Church in Prague (Romanian site here). It looks very much like the wooden churches of Maramureş (Romania), although it was made in the Ukraine in the second half of the 17th century and then brought to Prague in 1929. The ceremony begun at midnight, so that’s why the photos are very grainy (5000 ISO). Enjoy, and happy Eastern to all! Χριστὸς ἀνέστη!

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And here’s our Easter lunch (100% home made – we are great cooks indeed!): Romanian ‘sarmale‘ (i.e. ‘forc-meat rolls in cabbage‘, or ‘vine leaves’) with cream; Romanian ‘răcituri‘ (i.e. ‘meat jelly‘, or ‘pig’s trotters’); Romanian ‘mămăligă’ (i.e. ‘polenta‘); Easter eggs;  roast lamb (made in a cauldron) with Romanian salad (horseradish and beet);  ‘pască’ (traditional Romanian pastry); some Hungarian and Spanish wines; and a traditional Czech Becherovka. And because now it’s the season, we added some lilac for a nice view. Bon appetit!

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Livissi (Kayaköy), the ghost city: (d) The paintings

Read about Kayaköy. On some Orthodox churches’ walls you can still see parts of the old, original paintings. Unfortunately, because of authorities’ neglect, they are constantly decaying. I’m afraid they will not last too long in that humid environment… (Double click on each photo to enlarge it!)

My Turkey (6): Livissi (Kayaköy), the ghost city: (c) The houses

See the whole series on Kayaköy and read about its history on Wikipedia. Photos taken on 5 September 2014. Double click on each photo to enlarge it!

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The light at the end of the tunnel

Of course there is light at the end of the tunnel! You just have to be ready to spot it!:) Photos taken today, two hours before… [click on each photo to enlarge it!]

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My Turkey (5): Mugla: Panorama

As always, beauty is in the eyes of the beholder! I discontinue for a moment the series on Kayakoy to show you a panoramic view of Mugla, Turkey. Photos taken from the Toki district on 13 and 14 October 2015. Don’t forget: click on each photo to enlarge it!

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My Turkey (4): Livissi (Kayaköy), the ghost city: (b) The two Orthodox churches

Read about Kayaköy. Below, there is Panayia Pyrgiotissa (the ‘Lower’ Church). [Click on each photo to enlarge it!]

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And here is Taxiarhes (the ‘Upper’ church).

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My Turkey (3): Livissi (Kayaköy), the ghost city: (a) The town seen from above

A wonderful, must-see place (at least once in your life!). A place full of history and sorrow. If you travel to Turkey, you should not miss it! Read about Livissi (Kayaköy) on Wikipedia. Photos taken on 5 September 2015. Three more posts will follow soon: on the two Orthodox churches, the individual houses, and finally the (unfortunately) decaying religious icons on some inner walls. Today, we contemplate the ghost town from above. [Double click on each photo to enlarge it]

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