Nowadays, stilts are perceived only as entertainment: they are used by circus performers, participants in carnivals, and so on. But, this was not always the case, in ancient times they also had practical applications. And historians have never come to a consensus as to who was the first to invent stilts: artists, postmen or shepherds.
Shepherds used stilts to make it easier to observe the flock from a height. In addition, they moved on stilts much faster than on legs. With the help of stilts, shepherds easily overcame low-lying swampy places, which became impassable after rain.
In many parts of France, postmen used stilts to deliver mail quickly. A large number of drawings and photographs with their image have survived to this day. And on the southern coast of France, this original way of travel has not lost its relevance in the 21st century - it is difficult to drive along the sand dunes using any kind of transport.
Stilt fights were very popular in the Belgian city of Namur in the 19th century. The participants gathered in the city square and were divided into two teams, between which the competitions were held. Moreover, the enemy had to be knocked to the ground by blowing his stilts on his stilts. Now an ancient tradition is being revived: a festival called "Golden Stilts" is held annually in Namur. 2 teams compete with each other, each of which has 25 participants.
The popularity of stilts in Belgium is evidenced by the fact that in 1945 a group with the name "Royal Stilts" was formed in the country. In the same year, the stilt walkers made a long journey, walking all over Belgium and across many European countries.
In Lipetsk, stilts are included in the Courtyard Sports Cup. Moreover, participants can take part in the sprint, relay race and even show their skills in stilted slalom. In Russia, stilts were known in antiquity. There is even information that Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich, during his trips to distant monasteries, overcame part of the way on stilts. On our off-road it was quite convenient.
Stilt lovers also have their own champions. For example, American Ashrita Furman has set more than 300 achievements that are included in the Guinness Book of Records. Some records have been achieved with stilts. On January 15, 2000, Furman ran one mile in 17 minutes 45 seconds. Moreover, this result was shown not at the stadium, but on the runway of the Argentine station "Marambio" in Antarctica, which was covered with ice.
And in 2003, six residents of Yevpatoria decided to celebrate the anniversary of their hometown, which turned 2, 500 years old, in an unusual way: to run the relay race on stilts from Yevpatoria to Simferopol. The distance between the cities is 72 kilometers. Each of the participants covered more than 10 kilometers, and they all finished together, holding hands.
And what do doctors say about such activities? It turns out it's also useful. Stilts are a great way to deal with excess weight, coordination improves, and correct posture is formed. They can be an excellent trainer in our sedentary age.