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The Congress of Monarchs

1In 1429, on the banks of the River Styr, the great Lithuanian Grand Duke Vitautas hosted a group of very special guests. And what guests they were! Among those coming to the castle were Polish King Jagiellla; Holy Roman Emperor Sigizmund; Norwegian, Danish and Swedish King Erik; delegates of Infland and the Teutonic Knights; ambassadors of Pope Martin V; and legates of the Byzantine Empire and the Grand Duchy of Moscow.

There were two significant missions that united all these guests – to discuss the issue of European defense against the Ottoman Empire, and, most important, to crown Vitautas! This convention is acknowledged to be the largest in Medieval Eastern Europe and is recorded in history as the Congress of European Monarchs.

The number of honored guests, along with their servants and guards, numbered three times the local population (15 thousand people!!!). It was difficult to accommodate all of the guests in the castle and in the city so many of the visitors were housed in neighboring villages such as Gnidava, Krasne, Omelanuk, Zaborol and Zhuduchyn.

Guests enjoyed great entertainment in the time between diplomatic discussions. Monarchs played games and participated in jousting tournaments, races and different hunting excursions. They also loved to eat and drink in high style (especially when it was at the expense of another duke). Everyday they consumed 700 barrels of honey and wine, 700 oxen, 1400 sheep, and hundreds of elk, boars and many other small animals.

But unfortunately Vytautas wasn`t destined to become the king. The crown for the coronation, to be delivered by the Pope`s Nuncios, was stolen and the Lithuanian Kingdom was never to be established in Lutsk.

However, even today, if you look at the top of the Entrance Tower of Lutsk Castle in the light of the rising sun, you can see the outlines of the lost crown. Try it for yourself!

 

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