The Battle of the Three Emperors has returned to Austerlitz near the town of Slavkov u Brna in the Czech Republic after a two-year hiatus forced by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Hundreds of history buffs from 14 countries dressed in brightly coloured military uniforms came to re-enact the battle that took place 217 years ago on December 2, 1805.
However, following a raft of European sanctions on Russia for its ongoing invasion of Ukraine, Prague joined Poland, Finland and the Baltic states and stopped issuing Russian citizens tourist visas in October.
As a consequence, there were no Russian participants at this year’s event.
“The Russian army is present here as always but only fans from the Czech Republic, Austria and Poland are wearing the Russian historical uniforms, so no change at all,” said the organiser of the project, Miroslav Jandora.
The battle is often cited as Napoleon’s most valuable victory, after which the reign of the Holy Roman Empire in Europe came to an end.
His army of 70,000 troops defeated almost 90,000 Russian and Austrian soldiers.
“War is a horrible thing. It was horrible in 1805 when Napoleon fought here against the Russians and the Austrians, it’s horrible now in Ukraine with the Russians with Ukrainians fighting” said American actor Mark Schneider.
“I think we can learn from the past how horrible war is and hope that in the future we won’t have to see war anymore, ”Scheider concluded.
At Austerlitz, 18,000 soldiers died during the 9-hour battle while 4,000 were wounded.
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