Wednesday, 21 September 2011

The Vinobraní: 'I am Hannibal!'

Today's picture is one of several extraordinary spectacles at last weekend's Vinobraní, or wine-harvest festival in the Grébovka park which borders Vršovice and Vinohrady. Just after my friends and I arrived, a great trumpeting was heard, and a fully costumed warrior rode in on the elephant roaring out 'Ja jsem Hannibal!' at the top of his voice.

The elephant was then led in triumph around the park, which also bore witness to archery contests, gladiatorial fire fights, and a huge crowd of people sampling the flavour of the year's first burčák.

Burčák is partly-fermented grape juice - the preliminary stage of the wine-making process. The extremely sweet and potent liquid (between 5% and 8% alcohol) is sold in one-litre plastic bottles and consumed throughout the afternoon. This innocuous-looking drink (it reminded me of slightly fizzy pear juice) is so refreshing in the late summer heat that many unsuspecting drinkers are legless by the evening.

At the point when I took the picture, the elephant was also going down on his knees, though l'm not sure it was the burčák in his case; I rather think he had been trained to do the trick - but who knows?

2 comments:

mike said...

This looks like a fantastic event! I am spending some time on a city breaks in Prague in a few months time. Do you know of any big city events in the summer?!

Alex Went said...

Hi Mike. I recommend you have a look at www.pragueout.cz (you can read it in English by using google translate), or www.expats.cz. There are many other listings guides as well. Have a good time!

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