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Western Switzerland returns to Middle Ages

The people of St Ursanne will rediscover the "medieval" way of doing things at the festival

(Keystone Archive)

Jousting, displays of fire-eating and torch processions are all part of the medieval festivals being staged this summer in western Switzerland.

A medieval atmosphere has been recreated at a medieval site near Neuchatel where nothing except a single stone remains of the original fortification. But the history of the place, La Bonneville, and its destruction in 1301will be told in theatrical performances given at the location over the next four weeks.

Troubadours, jugglers and storytellers will also do their part in taking visitors back to a forgotten age.

Beginning on July 13, it will be the turn of the people of St Ursanne in canton Jura to turn back the clock. The three-day medieval festival begins with a jousting display and the organisers boast that the whole town turns out in costume and character: from lords and ladies, singers and dancers, to archers and fire-eaters.

There will also be torch processions in the evening, and a religious service on the Sunday morning accompanied by Gregorian chants.

The festival ends with a late afternoon parade through the picturesque medieval streets of St Ursanne, made up of about 600 people dressed in period costume.


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