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Top Pick: Musketeers and 'markytánky' coming to town

A PARADE of 200 people dressed in historical, folk and carnival costumes will tour the Old Town heart of Bratislava at 15:00 on Saturday, February 9, starting from the intersection of Ventúrska and Panská Streets.
Leading the parade, four castle trumpeters will play fanfares, followed by a baroque carriage accompanied by musketeers. Fakirs, fire-eaters, jugglers, folk dancers and theatrical groups will form the rest of the parade.
An hour later, the parade will arrive at Main Square, where its individual groups will scatter into the side streets to attract visitors with their own programmes. There'll be live folk, jazz and old-time music and a show by the Journeymanship of Ancient Warriors Arts and Crafts group, Tostabur.


Old-time musketeers will practice their craft on Bratislava streets.
Courtesy Tostabur

A PARADE of 200 people dressed in historical, folk and carnival costumes will tour the Old Town heart of Bratislava at 15:00 on Saturday, February 9, starting from the intersection of Ventúrska and Panská Streets.

Leading the parade, four castle trumpeters will play fanfares, followed by a baroque carriage accompanied by musketeers. Fakirs, fire-eaters, jugglers, folk dancers and theatrical groups will form the rest of the parade.

An hour later, the parade will arrive at Main Square, where its individual groups will scatter into the side streets to attract visitors with their own programmes. There'll be live folk, jazz and old-time music and a show by the Journeymanship of Ancient Warriors Arts and Crafts group, Tostabur.

"We will try to evoke the atmosphere of the [1618-1648] 30 Years War, the period of baroque," said Jana Chlebíková, a senior member of the group. "Our men, dressed as musketeers, will fight close duels and perform shooting from historical guns, while we women will play the role of 'markytánky', the female camp followers, who used to assure the soldiers support and pleasure."

The theatrical stunt group Tostabur (an abbreviation of the group's title and its war cry), was formed in 1964 in Bratislava, and re-enacts fights and battles in the way history has preserved them.

During their longest show, which lasts 70 minutes, knights fight on horses with long poles for a princess's hand in marriage. In another, they portray a group of musketeers fighting in the 17th century. They also bring alive stories from the Viking period, America's Wild West and sea-faring pirate battles. Belly-dancers from the Orient, sabre dances, feasts as well as torture practises can all be found in their repertoire.

"We like to reincarnate into those ancient periods and try to reveal the way people used to live," said Chlebíková.

Strict on authenticity, the group's members make the tools, guns and costumes mostly by themselves. Often, during their live theatrical performances, they hold workshops where they produce the crafts in front of the audience.

The parade will travel through Panská, Uršulínska, Primaciálne námestie, Františkánska, Michalská to Hlavné námestie. Stands selling refreshments and masks will be open along the route. For more information on the ancient battle group go to www.tostabur.sk

By Zuzana Habšudová

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