La Grande Armée returns to Daugavpils

Napoleonic battles will be the orders of the days in Latvia's second largest city, Daugavpils, this weekend.

From July 13 to July 15, the 4th International History Reconstruction Club Festival Dinaburg 1812 will take place in Daugavpils fortress dedicated to the Napoleonic Army and Russian Empire troops' battle for the Daugavpils (Dinaburg) Fortress in July 1812.

The participants of the improvised battle will give visitors a chance to imagine how the French troops would have launched an attack on the fortress of Dinaburg during their advance into Russia.

Participants of the event will wear period uniforms and other clothes from the 1812 to 1830 period, said Daugavpils fortress manager Janis Ostrovskis. Nor will it all be gunpowder and cannon balls as a ball and a series of concerts is also planned.

"At noon we have a parade of troops and reconstruction clubs, in fact we are already preparing for the ongoing battle. I discovered some secrets for the historical costume fashion show. But conflict may also arise... there may be a duel!" said Ostrovskis. 

"Shots will be fired in Daugavpils Fortress; the smell of gunpowder will fill the air. Participants, dressed in historic army uniforms, will imitate old-time events, while audience members will be able to take a picture with the soldiers, ride horses, shop at the crafts fair, enjoy concerts and performances," said publicity material.

Entrance is free of charge.

Despite the festive nature of the event, the real events upon which it is based were anything but festive. The massive Dinaburg fortress was still under construction when it was attacked by French forces in 1812, but managed to withstand the onslaught. Napoleon's army continued into Russia where it met its ultimate fate at the hands of the Russian winter.

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