Fleet of medieval ships on display at the Times & Epochs festival

Fleet of medieval ships on display at the Times & Epochs festival
Between 10 and 22 August, Moscow will host the annual Times & Epochs festival of Historical Reenactments. Several venues of the festival will be dedicated to shipbuilding and seamanship.

At the Times & Epochs festival, which will be held in Moscow between 10 and 22 August, a fleet of medieval ships will be on display. Festivalgoers will be able to see an 11-metre military Viking longship (which could hold up to 30 warriors), models of fishing boats and a 10-11th century Ancient Rus’ merchant boat.

Apart from the wooden ships, a patrol craft from the Great Patriotic War era will also be on display at one of the venues. Over 20 metres long and about four metres wide, it will be the largest ship displayed at the festival. It will be located on Vorobyovskaya Embankment.

The organisers stated that a total of eight ships from various historical periods, from ancient times to the 1940s, will be recreated for the festival. The main venues dedicated to fleet and shipbuilding will be at Chistoprydny Boulevard, Vorobyovskaya Embankment and Revolyutsii Square.

At Chistoprudny Boulevard, visitors will be able to see an early-medieval Viking shipyard guarded by reenactors wearing chain-mail armour and equipped with swords and large decorated shields. A medieval longship will be on display. During the festival, visitors at this venue will be able to participate in the construction of two smaller vessels – a copy of a fishing boat, which was discovered by archaeologists in southwestern France, and a 10th century Scandinavian dugout canoe made from a single block of wood.

At the Viking shipyard, reenactors will teach festivalgoers to weave ropes for the rigging system, make sailors’ knots, navigate with a medieval compass and make a medieval fishing net. The venue will be open every day from 11 am to 9 pm.

At Revolyutsii (Revolution) Square, visitors will be able to learn more about everyday life in medieval merchant Russia. This area is dedicated to the journey of Afanasy Nikitin, a Russian merchant,  who travelled from Tver to India. Nikitin became one of the first Europeans to travel to this country. At the square, festivalgoers will be able to see a model of a 10-metre Ancient Rus’ eight-oar merchant boat, plus a recreated 15th century shipyard.

At the venue, visitors will be able to play the Over Three Seas board game. Basically, several teams of players will roll the dice and move their counters across the board. Every face of the dice has a different icon that brings the players bonus points or bad luck by bringing them horses, profitable deals, capture, new fellow travellers, etc. The main goal is to trace and make on the map the whole journey from Tver to India and make the largest profit.

At the same venue, festivalgoers will be able to meet a scholar stargazer wearing an Indian costume, who will teach them to navigate with the help of the night sky, and find their bearings. Moreover, here, visitors will be able to learn more about the monetary system in Ancient Rus and the West, as well as the locals’ most popular goods from the 15th century.

On Vorobyovskaya Embankment, visitors will be able to see the military pier of the Great Patriotic War era equipped with lifebuoys, benches and even garbage bins of that time. There will also be a 1940s patrol craft on display. The reenactors, in Navy soldier and officer uniforms, will tell stories about the craft’s weapons.

Inside, visitors will find a museum with models of ammunition supplies, weapons and sailors’ personal belongings, as well as archive documents and photographs. Near the craft, there will be a machine-gun nest with a model of a DShK (Degtyarev-Shpagin) heavy machine gun.

Festivalgoers will also be able to try on a diving suit and learn more about Great Patriotic War diving equipment. They will learn to make hemp rope knots and learn about the semaphore signals using two flags. The venue will also offer an exhibit of Navy uniforms. The venue will be open every day from 11 am to 9 pm.

During the Times & Epochs festival, ships will be on display in other Moscow streets as well. On Petrovsky Boulevard, there will be a dugout canoe made with Stone Age technology. At Gogolevsky Boulevard, there will be a model of the Russian 17th century fishing boat, while at Pokrovsky Boulevard there will be a model of a shipyard from the Peter the Great era. There, visitors will see a wooden frigate ship frame, materials for a ship’s hull, and woodworking and shipbuilding tools.

This is the eighth Times & Epochs festival and it will be presented at 30 venues with Russian and European historical reenactment clubs presenting their own programmes. They will recreate various historical eras, from the Stone Age to the late 20th century. The public will be able learn more about crafting, attend exhibitions and become medieval university students. All venues will be open from 11 am to 9 pm. Admission is free.

Last year, Moscow held the Times & Epochs Collection festival between 1 to 12 June. It was attended by over 5 million people, and featured a historical Greek settlement, a Celtic village and camps of Roman legionnaires and Russian Imperial Army soldiers.