Red Field

Krasnoe Pole (Red Field) is an annual medieval culture festival around Sergiev Posad in September. It's arranged by the military history reconstruction club Wolfzeit and a local youth organization on large fields outside town. The festival takes us back to Old North Russia fighting Viking raids.

About 300 enthusiasts from all over Russia show their mastery in sword, arch, dance and even cooking over 1 weekend. They gather thousands of spectators from the Moscow region.

The organizers restore a whole medieval settlement around a fortress. Like back then, now knights in authentic armor walk down the streets with their ladies, sellers call out for customers into their counters while the poor beg promising God's blessings for charity. Strolling musician bands settle down round marquees. Their music helps some sell mead, a popular medieval beverage. Guards convoy shackled commoners guilty of something and offer passers-by to buy them out. Eateries are full of people tasting wild boar and quail. 

The field features horse tournaments between rich nobles pushing their opponents out of saddle with their spears at full throttle. Healers are here to help those injured. Another camp corner is for a costume contest among tradespeople, artisans, warriors and even clergy. A jury listens to each costume story, testing for any mechanical stitches and artificial cloth and checking all character attributes. 

Krasnoe Pole culminates in fortress siege by Normans vs. an Old Russian prince with his guard. The siegers even use the cutting-edge weapon of that time, cannon, but most successfully the old tested tactic of ramming the gate under their shields. The siege ends in a battle inside, often bloody so that real-life ambulance has to assist. Heroes there like showing their wounds off to beautiful ladies.

In the light of the upcoming St. Sergius' 700th anniversary the municipality is preparing a top medieval festival reproducing the Trinity Sergius Lavra's siege. So Krasnoe Pole acts as a major rehearsal for the this ambitious project



Sergiev Posad in summer (posad meaning a trade settlement around a fortress) is a Russian culinary center offering traditional drinks on street sale. Tourist may wonder about yellow tanks featurung КВАС on their sides, selling cheap frothy dark drink by plastic glasses or already in bottles. If you miss such street vendors along the way, buy it by/in the Lavra. Monastyrsky kvas is considered the best brand. For traditional but flavored kvas tasting sourer visit the Skete with its kvas-making facility.

The top Russian cold drink is refreshing and nutritional kvas (quass) now back again more popular than any cola. It's a natural fermented drink (classically with bubbles) of black or regular rye bread, enjoyed in hot weather even by youth. Raw bread color defines kvas drink. Its alcohol content is very low - 0.05-1%. Kvas may be flavored with fruits or herbs like strawberries or mint. It's also used as a basis for a cold summer soup, okroshka.

Kvas was 1st mentioned in Rus chronicles in 989. In Russia, under Peter the Great, it was the top non-alcoholic drink in all society. In the 19th century it was reported to be consumed in excess by peasants, commoners and monks; in summer they drank it more than water. It's both a commercial product and homemade. Kvas was once sold during summer only, but is now produced, packaged and sold year-round in stores.

Kvas is made by natural fermentation of bread (wheat, rye, barley) and sometimes flavored with fruit, berries, raisins, or birch sap collected in early spring. Modern homemade kvas usually uses black or regular rye bread (often dried), baked into croutons, or fried (+ sugar or fruit like apples/raisins), and with a yeast culture and ferment.

Commercial kvas (especially cheaper varieties) is made like many other soft drinks, using sugar, carbonated water, malt extract, and flavourings. Better brands (often made by beer rather than soft drink producers) usually use some traditional technology to brew their products. Kvas is commonly served unfiltered, with yeast still in it, which adds to its unique flavor and its high vitamin B content.