Oct 20, 2013
Some 6,000 history buffs in period military costume are re-enacting one of Germany's bloodiest battles, the Battle of the Nations.
French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte was defeated near Leipzig in October 1813 by forces from Russia, Austria, Prussia and Sweden.
Tens of thousands of spectators are attending the reconstruction, described as a "reconciliation".
However, Church leaders object to the battle being turned into a game.
They see Sunday's event as tantamount to glorifying the carnage of war, the BBC's Damien McGuinness reports.
An ecumenical service was held in the town of Roetha on Saturday to mark the 200th anniversary of the event - also known as the Battle of Leipzig.
The night before, European Parliament President Martin Schulz gave a speech at a memorial to the battle warning of a resurgence of nationalism.
An estimated 600,000 soldiers took part in the series of battles from 16-19 October 1813 and almost 100,000 of them lost their lives.
The victory of the allies - including a small British contingent - over Napoleon marked the end of his control of German territory.
Organisers say their controversial re-enactment is intended to be peaceful and to bring history alive. Many of the thousands taking part have grown period-style moustaches to match their 19th Century replica uniforms.
The role of Napoleon is being played by a 46-year-old Parisian lawyer, Frank Samson, who taught himself the Corsican language in an attempt to give a more authentic performance as the French emperor.
Local TV is reporting live from the scene as if the battle is actually being fought today.
Battle of the Nations
- Took place 16-19 October 1813; also called the Battle of Leipzig
- 185,000 mainly French troops under Napoleon
- 320,000 Austrian, Prussian, Russian and Swedish forces
- The French lost 38,000 men killed and wounded; allied losses totaled 55,000 men
- Marked the end of the French Empire east of the Rhine
Source: Encyclopaedia Britannica