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Maximillian Knights’ Tournament in Horb

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Maximilian Ritterspiele Horb 2013

Medieval spectacle with an historical backdrop

Traditionally all hell breaks loose in Horb am Neckar over the third weekend in June. The little town with an impressive historical backdrop is the scene of one of Europe’s biggest medieval spectacles: the Maximilian Ritterspiele Horb (Maximillian Knights’ Tournament in Horb). About 40,000 visitors from all over the region travel annually to experience knights mounted high on horses, the big medieval market and a wide diversity of other attractions like jugglers, minstrels, camp life and the festival parade.

The tournament site will once again take on a central role at the 18th Horber Ritterspiele from 13 to 15 June 2014. Additionally to the big tournament shows, there will be something happening the whole time in the tournament ring on both Saturday and Sunday thus making it even more attractive for visitors – with several smaller tournaments, exercises, stunt displays, exhibition fights and other performances. Taking place parallel is the large medieval market in the alleyways and streets around the centre of Horb and up to the market square. “Hawking” their wares are about 200 traders and craftsmen, including soap boilers, calligraphers, glass painters, armourers, wood carvers, elixir purveyors, leather braiders and many more. In between are enticing stands with a feast of foods and all sorts of thirst quenchers – from knight’s beer to mead. Amongst the colourful folk at the Horber Ritterspiele are also jugglers and minstrels, fire-breathers, stilt walkers and drummers, artistes, medieval music groups and there’s the medieval camp giving visitors an authentic insight into what life was like 500 years ago. And naturally for the younger fans of knights, there’s also the children’s Knights’ Tournament in the castle gardens.

Maximillian Knights’ Tournament in Horb

The colourful goings on, which catapults Horb back to medieval times for the duration of the June weekend, is based on an historical event. In 1498, King Maximilian, later the German Emperor, signed, for the state of Württemberg, the agreement governing the successor to the throne in front of the Horb town hall. He disempowered the inept Duke Eberhardt and enabled southern Germany to blossom economically in the years afterwards – from today’s point of view it was the begin of a democratisation process. And a good reason to celebrate the historical event with a festival – especially as Maximilian was a fervent fan of knights’ tournaments. The signing of the agreement is re-enacted in Horb’s historical town centre on Sunday. Immediately afterwards, kings and dukes, nobles and commoners, dancers, jugglers and trumpeters all go on an impressive celebratory parade through the centre of town to the tournament showground where King Maximilian presides over the trials of strength and skill.

Maximilian Ritterspiele Horb
14 -16 June 2013, Horb am Neckar
Further information: www.ritterspiele.com