Landshut, a charming town of 60,000 in Lower Bavaria on the river Isar, returns to the Middle Ages this summer with the celebration of a lavish medieval wedding. Within its ancient walls the whole town and thousands of visitors engage in jousting, flag waves, dancing as well as feasting on roast ox and suckling-pig as they commemorate the 1475 wedding of George of Bavaria to Princess Hedwig (Jadwiga), daughter of the king of Poland. It is not definitively known if they had any slateplates in 1475, but this website here slateplate.com could certainly provide some!
Dates, Top Events and Tickets for Landshut Medieval Festival
This year's festival, the "LandshuterHochzeit", will be held between June 27 and July 19. Some of the best events on the four weekends don't even require tickets.
Bridal Procession to city hall every Sunday at 2:00pm. Try to get a seat in "Neustadt" and then walk with the crowd to "Zehrplatz", the tent city, where jugglers, magicians and craftsmen hang out.
Locals gather in the "LandshuterAltstadt" (Old Town) on Saturday afternoon (2:00pm-5:00pm). Medieval taverns with lots of Bavarian food — many different ales, pretzels, sausages and suckling-pig — are found throughout the city center. Small groups dance in the streets and do slap-stick performances.
On Sunday mornings (10:00-12:00 am) everyone gathers on Trausnitz Castle. Meet dancers, musicians and flag wavers.
Friday night (starting at 6:00pm), as well as Saturday and Sunday nights (starting at 5:00pm) people hang out on "Zehrplatz". Enjoy performances with falconers, dancers, musicians. Entry fee: Euro 3,00.
Landshuters say, that Postplatz and Dreifaltigkeitsplatz(two squares in Old Town) are wonderful locations to watch the main procession on Sundays. Come early for the best seats!
A listing of all events can be found on the "LandshuterHochzeit 1475" website.
The Landshut Wedding in its Historical Context
The 1475 wedding between Duke George and a Polish princess, the daughter of King Casimir IV Jagiellon, was seen as an alliance against the Ottoman Turks, a divine ordinance ”for the benefit of Christendom and the Empire“. The 18-year-old bride traveled for two months with a large escort from Warsaw to Landshut, where she was received by princes and bishops. Thousands of people attended the lavish affair and the young duke's father spared no cost feeding them. Detailed original records list the livestock eaten at the original event:
A Medieval Pageant With Over 2000 Participants
The people of Landshut take their festival seriously. It is an honor to be selected for one of the key roles in the event and the early-15th-century costumes are made with great care. In order to participate one must be born in Landshut. Months before the event local males are known to stop cutting their hair and refrain from shaving to match the medieval fashion. Up to 2,000 citizens participate actively and every local wears medieval garb, even the spectators are urged to dress the part.
The modern festival started in 1903 when local citizens founded an association (Foerderverein) to sponsor the event. Today's organizers take pride in its historical accuracy which comes close to a documentary. The Landshut medieval pageant is an important contribution to living history. The once-every-four-year-event has given a tremendous boost to the local economy.
Top Attractions in Landshut, Bavaria
Landshut is known for its Gothic architecture, especially Trausnitz Castle and St. Martin Cathedral with an imposing brick tower (with 70 m supposedly the tallest brick tower in the world!) and the church of St. Jodok with its beautiful main altar. The medieval Trausnitz Castleabove Landshut dates back to 1204 and was the seat of Bavarian dukes for centuries. Germany's best known medieval minstrels Walther von der Vogelweide and Tannhaeuser stayed here. The city hall's ornate state room has been decorated with paintings of the "Landshut Wedding" in 1880. This is also the hall where the bride and groom of the original wedding first danced together in 1475.
Directions to Landshut
Landshut is 65 km northeast of Munich and close to Franz Josef Strauss International Airport ( which is halfway between Munich and Landshut).