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Siberian Trash Dump Becomes A Medieval Fortress

Siberian Trash Dump Becomes A Medieval Fortress


Siberian rubbish dump staff have turned their workplace into a marvelous medieval tourist attraction.

Garbage dumps and trash heaps are generally not regarded as potential tourist attractions and most of us avoid them at all costs fearing diseases and seagull attacks. But a landfill site in the Siberian town of Irkutsk has been converted into a remarkable medieval fortress and it’s stunning stricture holds shades of a Robin Hood play crossed with a post-apocalyptic Mad Max type movie.

Tons of scrap metals have been hammered, welded and polished into an army of dozens of knights and horses who line up guarding the fortress’ gates and fences. The site continues to serve as an operating trash dump but doubles up as what a report in The Metro  call a free open-air museum, and the dump director, Aleksandr Rastorguev, says he was inspired after noticing lots of washing machines and heating appliances like electrical irons, and one day it came to him to do something with these items - something with a “historical theme”.

Medieval Knights made from old washing machines guard the site (ODN / YouTube Screenshot)
Medieval Knights made from old washing machines guard the site (ODN / YouTube Screenshot)

Medieval Knights made from old washing machines guard the site (ODN / YouTube Screenshot)

Tanks, Predators And Terminators

Mr Rastorguev made it very clear to press that they had “no artists” so all of the incredibly hard work was created by the dump staff working on their own volition. Mr Rastorguev added that the incredible show was created “When a person does it from his heart, when he wants to do it, then it comes out the way that you can see it.” The dump is more of a theme park and besides the medieval fort this expansive site hosts battle reenactments and features a Soviet T-34 tank. Perhaps the most kitsch creations are stylized movie characters from Schwarzenegger's The Terminator and Predator.

Predator sculpture. (ODN / YouTube Screenshot)

Predator sculpture. (ODN / YouTube Screenshot)

Russia leads the charge when it comes to all things medieval and they appear to be obsessed with bringing the Middle Ages back to life, evident in that it was only in 2015 that Russia birthed an entirely new branch of mixed martial arts and it really was right out of the Middle Ages. Russian MMA promoter M-1 Global went full-on “Game of Thrones” when he began entertaining audiences between fights with full-contact jousting matches and following those, a series of one-on-one bouts between fully-armored fighters, wrote Marc Raimondi for

These bloody trips back to the battlefields of the medieval that featured in-between MMA fights were so popular that on April 10 2015 fighters Evgeniy Bedenko and Ivan Vasiliev stepped into the octagon for M-1 Medieval Division’s first official bout.

Annual Medieval Battles

Every year hundreds of grown men dress up as medieval knights, gather in forests and fields across the world, and knock lumps out of each other. The main event in this medieval world is “Battle of the Nations” which is the only world championship of full contact fighting with steel weapons from the Middle Ages.

‘Museum’ of junk items recovered from the landfill site in Irkutsk. (ODN / YouTube Screenshot)

‘Museum’ of junk items recovered from the landfill site in Irkutsk. (ODN / YouTube Screenshot)

Fighters dress in full-weight authentic armor and while they wield steel weapons they’ve been blunted so they don’t lop each other’s heads, arms and legs off, but the events get heated and wild and folk often lose it and really tear into each other. Marshals keep everything relatively cool but wrestling and street fighting techniques are applied during the battles, making them both breathtaking and sometimes bloody affairs. This year, Serbia hosted participants from 33 countries including China to combat on the ground of Smederevo fortress for this year's Battle of the Nations which culminated in a grand 150 vs. 150 person melee.

The Good Life

Now, if you’re like me and the idea of getting medieval for a weekend appeals to you but you’d rather keep your head on, what you need to do is save up and book into one of the most incredible surviving late-medieval houses in Wales. This beautiful house was painstakingly restored into a remarkable holiday letting and last October Wales Online said the Llwyn Celyn in Monmouthshire was one of only a handful of domestic dwellings that survive from the time of Owain Glyn Dŵr’s rebellions (c. 1359 – c. 1415).

Not every medieval restoration works out as good as the Welsh home or even as good as the trash site, as it was only last September I wrote about a seriously “botched” restoration of a medieval artwork. A local tobacco shop owner in the hamlet of Rañadorio, in the north-western Spanish region of Asturias decided to freshen-up some 500-year-old statues with some horribly bright and garish colors.

Top image: Landfill site workers in Russia have created a medieval fortress from junk.      Source: ODN /YouTube Screenshot

By Ashley Cowie

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Ashley is a Scottish historian, author, and documentary filmmaker presenting original perspectives on historical problems in accessible and exciting ways.

He was raised in Wick, a small fishing village in the county of Caithness on the north east coast of... Read More

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