Vápnatak 2017

Dva roky poté / Two years later

Nacházíme se pod hřebeny Nízkých Tater na pastvinách lemovaných lesy. Kolem táborového ohně se točí ženy připravující jídlo, zatímco někteří muži poměřují své síly v taflu, jiní zápasí a trénují zbraněmi, další se myjí v chladné, zurčící říčce, a ostatní se psem pročesávají okolí. Nezaujatý pozorovatel by mohl dojít k závěru, že se nachází u loveckého tábora. To je slovenský Vápnatak 2017.


We are situated on pasturelands under the forested ridge of the Low Tatras, Slovakia. Girls are preparing food by the campfire, while some men are competing in tafl, others are training and wrestling, washing themselves in a cold, gurgling drinkable rivulet and the rest of participants are hiking around with a dog. An observer could say that the camp looks like a hunting station. All of that is Vápnatak 2017.



Před dvěma roky jsme v článku „Vápnatak s Herjanem“ informovali o prvním ročníku maloformátové akce nazvané Vápnatak, kterou pořádá skupina Herjan každý červen na Slovensku a každý podzim v Čechách. Oproti festivalům, na které účastníci vozí většinu svého vybavení a jde spíše o přehlídku spojenou s pitkou a bitvou, je tento minimalistický koncept zajímavý tím, že každá výprava je jedinečná, vyžaduje vybavení přenosné na vlastním hřbetu, může neustále překvapovat a posouvat hranice možností a povětšinou probíhá v odlehlých místech, takže účastníkům dovoluje poznat přírodní zajímavosti. Zároveň zkouší znalosti účastníků, stmeluje je a zdokonaluje jejich kooperaci. Loňského ročníku pořádaného na Slovensku jsem se bohužel této události nemohl účastnit, ale letošní ročník, který se konal 9.–11.6.2017 na tradičním místě v malebné Dolné Lehotě, jsem si nemohl nechat ujít.


Two years ago, we published the article called „Vápnatak with Herjan“. It describes the first small-scaled event organized by the group Herjan that is called Vápnatak and that is organized each June (Slovakia) and each autumn (Czech Republic). The difference between Vápnatak and other events lies in the minimalistic concept – people are supposed to carry all their stuff on their backs and the event is not only about drinking and fighting. Every Vápnatak is a challenge for the skills and is a special and surprising teambuilding in a way. Thanks to the fact it takes part in some distant places, the participant can explore the nature. The last year, I could not participate, as I attended The Viking Way in Norway, but this year’s event, organized in a beautiful village of Dolná Lehota as always, was a must-visit occasion.





Letošní ročník ukázal přinejmenším tři pozitivní změny oproti předchozímu ročníku. První spatřuji v účasti více skupin – akce se zúčastnilo 14 lidí a jeden pes ze skupin Herjan a Slavibor. Druhý rozdíl spočívá ve stále se stupňujících kostýmových standardech – tento rok byla použita nová pravidla. Názorným příkladem může být také to, na rozdíl od Vápnataku 2015, kdy jsme měli k dispozici pouze jeden ostrý oštěp, se počet ostrých zbraní v tomto roce zmnohonásobil. Jelikož jsme nedaleko tábora našli čerstvou medvědí stopu, zásoba opravdových zbraní nám rozhodně dodala kuráže. Reálné nebezpečí je přitom naprosto unikátní a nelze jinde zažít. Za třetí změnu považuji širší spektrum aktivit, mezi které mimo vaření můžeme zahrnout noční hlídku, krátké putování s následnou zastávkou a přípravou jídla, komplexní tréninky zahrnující zápas, boj mečem/sekerou a štítem, kopím, vrhání oštěpu na štít a liniové střety, koupání v chladné vodě, návštěva místních bačů, stříhání vlasů dobovými nůžkami, výroba topůrka, hraní deskových her, vyprávění a zpěv a další.


Compared to the last Slovakian Vápnatak I participated, there were at least three positive changes. Firstly, there were more people from more groups – fourteen individuals and a dog from two groups, Herjan and Slavibor. Secondly, costume rules are still more and more strict every year; a new set of rules was used this year. As an example of the change, it can be mentioned that in 2015, we had just one sharp javelin, while now, the number of sharp weapon was multiplied. Since there are bears and wolves in the vicinity of the camp, their traces can be easily seen by the rivulet and locals speak about their attacks on sheep, weapons are useful tools for protection and morale boost. Thirdly, the scale of activities is much wider. This year, it consisted of nightwatching, hiking and cooking, training with all kind of weapons, wrestling, throwing a javelin into a shield for some interesting results, taking a bath, visiting of local shepherds, cutting hair with period shears, making an axe shaft, playing board games, storytelling, singing and others.





Stejně jako kdekoli jinde, i u Vápnataku existují možnosti k vylepšení. Akce vznikla jako soukromá oddechová událost skupiny Herjan, ale vzhledem k většímu počtu účastníků a paletě zmíněných aktivit se domnívám, že v příštím roce by hlavní den – tedy sobota – mohl být lépe organizovaný, například formou přednášek a jiných kolektivních činností. Pokud Vápnatak v příštích letech navštíví cizinci, bude tato potřeba o to intenzivnější. Skvěle by se vyjímaly také body programu výlučně pro ženy. Aby se udržela kvalita akce, je potřeba neustále připomínat, zejména nováčkům a novým účastníkům, že nedobové předměty – zpravidla obaly, cigarety a podobně – musí být skryté a v nejlepším případě se nemají vůbec vyskytovat. Během nočního veselí osobně preferuji lidové písně, vyprávění o dalekých cestách a hru na hudební nástroje, než-li zpěv moderních písní.


No matter what is the quality of the event, there is always space for improvement. The event was created as a private relaxing occassion of the group Herjan, but now, due to the bigger number of participants and wider scale of activities, I personally think that the main day (Saturday) should be organized more wisely and divided into team activities. There should also be some presentations, lectures and schedule for women. In order to keep the event progressive enough, it is needed to repeat that the modern stuff – mainly bottles or cigarettes – should be hidden, or better, should not occur at all. During the night, I personally refer folk song, storytelling and historical instruments, rather than modern songs.




Přes tyto komentáře je potřeba říci, že kostýmová úroveň, společně s absencí diváků, aktivitami a prostředím činí z Vápnataku nejkvalitnější slovenskou raně středověkou akci, kterou vřele doporučuji všem, kteří mají rádi historii, dobrou společnost a přírodu. V případě, že se budete chtít příštího ročníku zúčastnit, neváhejte spolek Herjan zkontaktovat. Tímto děkuji za možnost zúčastnit se a použít fotografie.


Still, the level of costumes, the absence of the public, activities and the nature make Vápnatak the most authentic Early Medieval event in Slovakia. It is highly recommended to all enthusiast who love the past, good society and nature. In case you liked the article or you would like to participate, please, contact the group Herjan. Finally, I am very glad for the chance to participate and to use photos in this summary.

The Early Medieval Forum, Slovakia

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The Early Medieval Forum / Fórum včasného stredoveku (FVS) will take place on February 3, 2017 in Archaeological Museum of the Slovak National Museum in Bratislava, Slovak republic. The project is organised by Marobud reenactment group from the Czech Republic and Svjatogor from the Slovak Republic.

For a longer period of time I and some of our group – Svjatogor – were convinced that we should contribute to the Slovak reenactment community by organizing an event. However, I was not sure of it’s nature for there are always the same types of events. An event for the public with stage combat exhibitions, theatrical parts and some tournament? Early medieval reenactment battle? A private gathering of the reenactment groups – maybe some tournament and party in costumes? All of those have at least one of the following problems: there’s a lot of it, local community is not big enough, no adequate space for it, without sufficient additional value etc.

A bright idea came to my mind while chatting with my father – an archaeologist. He attends a lot of conferences and symposiums dedicated to different matters of his profession. Why not to make something similar but in a smaller scale and dedicated for reenactors? There is a crucial need for an open discussion channel for the reenactors. Yes, we discuss things on the social media, we can talk during the events. On the social media like Facebook, we can indeed see fruitful debates but we have to face the loss of intimacy in these discussions which results into egocentrism, agression, so called “hate”, personal attacks and last but not least the presence of people not interested or open-minded enough for some sort of serious discussion. Most of these problems are present also during the reenactment events but with the addition of the alcohol, therefore the efficiency of the discussion decays.

A base for reenactors of the early medieval period – this idea caught me and kept me thinking of it for some time. After some time I was confident of the possible contribution of this event mainly in these points:
– meeting in person without the distance of the medias
– relatively small group meeting with a clear aim without unnecessary distractions
– participation of people that are truly interested in the matter
– a potential to create a long-term collective that could be recognized in the reenactment scene
– a possible inspiration for the others to discuss on a new level

With a steady aim, the next step was clear. For a few years, there is a person I recognize as a certain authority on the early medieval reenactment scene in the Czech and the Slovak Republic. I assumed his participation on this Early Medieval Forum (FVS) was crucial to the goal of the event. Tomáš Vlasatý is Czech reenactor of the early medieval Northener from Scandinavia, member of Marobud reenactment group, founder of Projekt Forlǫg, and an enthusiast that is engaged in a large number of projects that aim to improve the quality of the reenactment community and to motivate current and new reenactors to improve themselves.

My shy approach to him was not in place, because of his friendly attitude and his fast approval and adaptation of this idea and also an enthusiasm he showed. According to his knowledge, a similar concept works perfectly in Russia that is known to possess a powerful community of a great quality. We agreed on the name of the event and Tomáš suggested to find a place inspirational enough for this kind of forum. We also agreed on a date of the forum that will take place on February 3, 2017. An important part of the contribution of Tomáš was to invite the deeply interested reenactors that could contribute to this forum as his scope and contacts amongst the reenactors are really significant. In the meantime, thanks to my and my group’s warm relations with the Archaeological Museum of the Slovak National Museum, we managed to arrange the forum to take place in the premises of the Archaeological Museum.

The idea of the Early Medieval Forum is that the participants contribute themselves with their own ideas, papers or presentations to the forum. I managed to convince PhDr. Vladimír Turčan of the Archaeological Museum, an expert in the archaeology of the early medieval Slavic culture, to contribute to the forum with his speech about Bojná hillfort, probably the most famous early medieval archaeological site in Slovakia. Recently, the top-level sword manufacturer from Slovakia – Róbert Môc – kindly agreed to participate in the Early medieval forum and to contribute by presenting the sword from Krásna nad Hornádom (Slovakia) and his work on it’s reconstruction.

It is not so long I was merely scratching the surface of the whole reenactment problematics but I and my group wish to join the effort of the great reenactors and help to improve the community. Naturally, we have to start from ourselves, but in the meantime, we would be happy to cooperate with the others and help to motivate the other groups and individuals. I believe, and I assume Tomáš would not disagree, that the Early Medieval Forum will be a step in the right direction and that we would be happy to welcome more enthusiasts in the early medieval reenactment to participate and collaborate on the meetings in the future.

In case of interest, please contact us via e-mail on: svjatogor.druzina@gmail.com

December 1, 2016

Michal Bazovský
Svjatogor