Experience the Middle Ages at Kaltenberg Knight Tournament
The Kaltenberg Knights Tournament and the Jester's Night. takes place every July in a genuine royal castle near the village of Kaltenberg, about one hour drive South of Munich. You can go by car, but because of the tremendous traffic jams we recommend to go by public transport.
The S-Bahn (S8) from Munich Central Station to Geltendorf takes less than one hour. Once there, just follow everyone else to the shuttle bus, which will take you to the castle.
All our friends had been to the spectacle before, but for me it was the first time. I was really excited!
Medieval maids greeted us at the entrance and immediately we traveled back in time a few hundred years. The organizing committee put great effort into making the tournament as authentic as possible.
We wandered through a Middle Ages Market, with more than 100 traders offering medieval products. Plenty of food stalls and restaurants invite to taste their food. The smell of roasted Bavarian Schweinshaxe (knuckles of pork), freshly baked bread and many other delicious dishes lies in the air and makes you feel hungry.
All throughout the area on the streets and stages you can watch artists show their tricks. Imagine all those old-fashioned professions like Knights, fire eaters, story narrators, barbarians, jesters, musicians playing long forgotten instruments, falconers, and dancers. The jester to the right was voted "King of Jesters" the day before. Watching him doing grimaces (almost like Jim Carey) was a delight and frightening at the same time.
Even many of the visitors are dressed up as Knights and Ladies. You can admire women dressed in beautiful medieval-style garments along with elegant patricians throughout the entire area.
Tobi and I tried as well to fit into the Middle Ages. Ok, we don't wear sophisticated garments as other visitors did, but I figured my Dirndl (typical Bavarian dress) would do :-)
The first highlight is the Medieval Procession: all participants of the spectacle (over 2000!) walk a tour around the area. The procession takes about half an hour and is a great start for the evening program.
Find below some of the pictures I took during the procession. (Hover your mouse over the photos to read the descriptions.)
The hosts of the Knights tournament in Kaltenberg are real royals: Their Royal Highnesses Luitpold Prince of Bavaria and Princess Beatrix of Bavaria. The Prince itself will welcome you at the beginning of the tournament in the arena.
He had the idea for the tournament in 1980 and developed it since from a small amateur arrangement for some Middle Ages enthusiasts to the biggest knights tournament of the world. Even bigger than the original ones in the Middle Ages!
The tournament centers every year on a different story. In 2006 it was "The Fight for the Holy Grail".
The story is the following: the monks with the Holy Grail are attacked by the bad Black Knight and the Holy Grail is stolen.
Now, the good knights are being trained for the fight against evil and have to prove their abilities in a variety of tests on horseback.
Once they're prepared the fight begins and in the end the good ones win and the Holy Grail is given back to the monks.
The narration of the story is only in German, but even if you don't understand German, you'll still enjoy the action in the arena.
Some of the best stuntmen in Europe with their stunt horses present the show and do stunning tricks. It's amazing to see in how many variations a person can ride on a horse: standing, kneeling, making a handstand, below, besides, under, ....
It's even great to see how sometimes the stuntmen fall off, but they're up again on their horses in a matter of seconds! Fantastic!
Afterwards, eat and drink, buy a few of the things, your ancestors couldn't live without and have fun walking around. Even after the official tournament, the show goes on: on seven stages, bands (with very modern music), performers and artists will keep you busy watching and admiring.
If you come to Munich in July, don't miss the Kaltenberg Knights Tournament. Get more information and tickets