The Renaissance Festival in Koprivnica Draws Thousands of Visitors

Total Croatia News

TCN’s roving reporter Slobodan Kadic gets festive in Koprivnica with Belly Dancers, Rugby and Monastery Nettle Beer.

Do you want to try a capon (castrated cockerel) stuffed with carrots and roasted on a spit and drink the monastery nettle beer? If the answer is yes, then you should come to the Renaissance Festival in Koprivnica at the end of August next year, when its next edition will be held. This year, the festival drew thousands of visitors from Croatia and abroad to Koprivnica, the town of nettle…

Vagrants, Beggars and Peasants…

The historical mega spectacle of the Renaissance Festival blends late medieval historical facts and originality of Koprivnica, Drava and Croatia, with the heritage of values ​​from the Western European cultural and civilizational circle (to which Croatia belongs), which is demonstrated through performances of numerous knight, crafts and music groups from almost ten European countries. This event is a perfect example how the European identity of a town and a region can be developed.

The festival reconstructs the events 656 years ago, when Koprivnica became a free royal town and deals primarily with the period of the late 15th and the early 16th century, when the Renaissance fortifications on whose remains the entire program is taking place were built.

Many various event during the four-day festival convincingly bring visitors back to times long gone, the times which are evoked by “medieval” craftsmen (this is the largest fair of medieval crafts in this part of Europe), merchants, knights, ladies, kings and courtiers, vagrants, beggars, peasants, alchemists, musicians, entertainers and many others, such as cooks who prepare dishes according to medieval recipes. As far as drinks are concerned, you can only choose among beverages from that time, such as mead, wine and beer, served in cups made of wood, glass and clay.

More than a thousand costumed performers from Koprivnica, Croatia and other countries (Slovenia, Italy, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Germany, Austria, Poland) made a great impression on everybody, and visitors could interact with them and participate in the program themselves. Even though the Renaissance Festival has been organized just nine times, it has already become the largest and the most complex event of its kind in this part of Europe (according to the opinion of domestic and foreign participants, as well as numerous enthusiastic visitors from Croatia and abroad).

This year, the central theme of the festival was “Equestrian Knight’s Tournament” which was faithfully staged by a professional Slovak group of stuntmen. It is a very attractive event seen at historical spectacles across Europe, with armored knights on horseback and with long lances demonstrating various skills and techniques of handling and fighting with spectacular falls. The event is accompanied by huge infrastructure – two large ceremonial tents for horses, the arena covered with sand, security, sound system, ambulances…

Before the festival, the oldest part of ​​the town was totally neglected (earthen ramparts and the armory building). The devastated ground floor of the armory was cleaned and, in order to illustrate the historical period, the organizers have built wooden palisades (walls and towers) and set up a wooden bridge at the site where it actually existed many centuries ago. Wooden buildings for people and animals were also built.

The visitors could try their hand at archery, and buy a variety of products, from bread, jams and flowers to relish and fruit. People drank wine, ate roasted oxen, rabbits, wild boars, tripe, but also the Podravka’s royal dishes, nettles, the Pan beer and mead. In a medieval brewery the monastery nettle beer was produced, and later a hunt on a beer witch was organized?! Medieval cookery was demonstrated, as well as the life in knights’ camps, and exhibitions of wild and domestic animals, edible, non-edible and poisonous mushrooms were presented. Medieval rugby was played, while musicians, drummers and belly dancers played and danced. The mystical life of Koprivnica during the Renaissance era was presented in all its glory under the moonlight and torches, and, a little bit further, a village of lepers was also recreated. The events even included a descend down a slope in a wooden trough.

Nothing Without People from Slavonia… Actually, from Našice

Numerous knight groups from Croatia took part in the festivities: Knights from Sveti Ivan Zelina, Order of the Knights of Ružica Town from Orahovica, Dubovac Archers from Karlovac, the Klis Uskoci, the Vranski Knights from Pakoštane, the Šibenik city guard, Order of the Silver Dragon and the Order of Guards from Zagreb, Ordo Sancti Viti from Rijeka, Association of St. George from Đurđevac, Archery Club Primitive Bow and Arrow from Koprivnica, as well as the Trakošćan Archers, Archery Club Koprivnica, Corvos Capronca from Koprivnica, the Knights of the Glogov Well and the Musketeers and Guards from Koprivnica.

Although delicacies and souvenirs based on nettle are omnipresent in almost all the restaurants and souvenir shops in Koprivnica, the story of nettle is still at the centre of attention at the Renaissance Festival. Its healing properties and the alleged aphrodisiac powers are well known.

And, finally, the gastronomic experience. Cooks from Slavonia were preparing meals at Podravka’s Renaissance royal cuisine. The team from the Hotel Park in Našice (Stanko Vinković – the first Croatian royal cook, Ivan Orban) has shown its expertise for the second time and is considered to be one of the best in Croatia. Last year’s winners have this time prepared venison in hunter’s sauce, deboned rabbit stuffed with bacon and vegetables under the bell, and capon stuffed with nettle and carrot on a spit, which was personally plucked by minister Anka Mrak-Taritaš, while minister Gordan Maras chopped the wood for the grill?!

This beautiful story could go on forever. Therefore, Glas Slavonije recommends you try a royal steak with Rocky Mountain oysters, a medieval treat that is certain to impress you. Just like everything else from the Renaissance era! Guaranteed.

The Legend of Koprivnica

The legend about the name of Koprivnica is well-known, dating from the times of the Mongol invasion in 1242, when the Hungarian-Croatian king Bela IV fled before Tatar hordes towards the sea. After crossing the Drava river, the Tatars got very close so he hurried to the fortified Kalnik, but when he reached the stream of Koprivnica, somewhere near today’s town, he did not dismount the horse so his feet would not get wet. However, the horse jumped and he fell from the saddle into the nettles which were very plentiful there. The angry king called the place Koprivnica and the name has remained to this day.

Recipe: Royal steak (serving for 4)

720 g of veal or wild boar ham
120 g of Rocky Mountain oysters
100 g of nettle
100 g of whole button mushrooms
1 dl of white wine
50 g of flour
50 g of fat
Vegeta Natur
salt and pepper
Cut the meat into steaks, pound and season them. Cover them with nettle leaves which you have previously briefly boiled in salted boiling water. In the middle put the cooked Rocky Mountain oysters cut into sticks. Curl the stuffed steaks into rolls, fasten with toothpicks, roll them in flour and fry in the fat from all sides. Pour water or broth over them, simmer until the meat is soft. Add mushrooms, season if necessary, and finally add wine.
Tip: Boil the Rocky Mountain oysters for 10 minutes in boiling hot water with a bay leaf, peppercorns and root vegetables (onion, garlic, celery, parsley).


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