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The Warsaw Voice » Other » November 5, 2008
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Battles Reenacted
November 5, 2008   
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Mazovia commemorates many glorious but exhausting episodes from Poland's past and relives the nation's relentless struggle for independence through a series of reenactments from January through November. These are an excellent history lessons as well as a huge drawcard for locals and visitors alike. Historical battles are fought by medieval knights, Napoleonic soldiers, January [1863] insurgents, World War I cavalrymen and soldiers from 1939. You can observe meticulously recreated battle dress and become acquainted with long lost crafts. Those taking part are decked out in period uniforms and armed with replicas of the weapons used at the time. They stage cavalry parades and infantry drills, adhering all the while to the military codes of conduct of the day.

Pułtusk: The Battle of Pułtusk
Poles pinned their hopes on Napoleon Bonaparte's Grand Army when it set foot on Polish soil in 1806 and fought against Prussia and Russia. The battle of Pułtusk, north of Warsaw, significantly contributed to the establishment of the Duchy of Warsaw. The bicentennial reenactment on the historical battlefield was the largest of its kind in Europe. There were 1,500 extras, including 150 cavalrymen dressed in Napoleonic uniforms.

Ciechanów - Opinogóra: The Return of the Light Cavalry
Mazovia was occupied by Napoleon's army in 1806, when the emperor's troops defeated those of the Russian czar in Gołymin near Ciechanów, northwest of Warsaw. The battle has been reenacted, complete with Napoleonic camp, for the past six years. The camp itself is a faithful replica of the pick of Napoleon's day and gives a real feel for the epoch.

Ciechanów hosts another historical show in July, when 100 13th- and 14th-century knights cross lances.

Raszyn: The Battle of Raszyn 1809
Duchy of Warsaw troops, under the command of Prince Józef Poniatowski, found themselves outnumbered two to one when they took on an Austrian force on April 19, 1809. The fields around Warsaw's Falenty Palace have been the backdrop to a 90-minute battle reenactment every May since 2005. The reenactment was awarded the highest ranking in 2006 in the Patriotism of Tomorrow Program run by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage.

Radom: January Uprising 1863
The open-air Radom Countryside Museum in Radom, in southern Mazovia, commemorates the January Uprising. The winter scenery makes this the only reenactment of its kind in Poland.

Ostrołęka: The Battle of Ostrołęka 1831
The Battle of Ostrołęka, in northern Mazovia province, marked the last chapter of the ill-fated November Uprising of 1830. Warsaw was destined to fall within four months, although the army, under Gen. Józef Bem, managed to stave off total defeat. The streets of Ostrołęka come alive with a reenactment every May when the townsfolk engage the czar's finest in hand-to-hand combat, as did their forebears in 1831.

Warsaw: November Night 1830,
Battle of Olszynka Grochowska 1831, and the Warsaw Uprising 1944
The "November Night," which triggered the November Uprising on Nov. 29, 1830, is commemorated on the last Saturday of November every year. The bloodiest battle of the uprising, which took place Feb. 25, 1831, is reenacted on Kinowa Street in Warsaw's Praga district in February. Warsaw reenacts the Warsaw Uprising of 1944, the capital's most recent, every August.

Ossów: The Battle of Warsaw 1920
The fields around Ossów saw their first reenactment of the Polish-Soviet struggle in 2005, 85 years after the event. The Polish Cavalry division also holds the Open Championships of their riding competition.

Brochów: The Battle of Bzura 1939
Mid-September marks the reenactment of the largest World War II battle fought in Poland.

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