This weekend there will be a huge battle outside Moscow: For the 57th time, the Battle of Borodino will be fought on the fields and hills about 130 kilometers to the southwest of Moscow.

It was first fought in 1812, and then every year since 1962. In 1995, the state declared the day a special holiday in honor of the event. This year the Ministry of Culture, Borodino Museum, Russian Military-History Society and International Military History Association are expecting participants from over 80 cities in Russia and around the world. At least five representatives of foreign embassies will also attend, including from France.

The Battle of Borodino is the biggest reenactment in Europe. This year more than 1,000 soldiers, officers, generals — and an emperor — will take to the battlefield, dressed in perfect reproductions of French and Russian uniforms and armor, and shooting off weapons and canons from that time period — although with blanks. Over 300 horses, also in full battle uniform, will also take part.

But wars are not only fought on the battlefield. In addition to the military men there will be camps filled with all the people who accompanied the armies: cooks, doctors, aides, runners, and camp followers. Before, during and after the battle they will be doing what their predecessors did in 1812: cooking meals, sewing uniforms, tending the horses, caring for the weaponry. They will demonstrate 19th century surgery, calligraphy, sword-making and much more.