Fiestas de Moros y Cristianos - Moors and Christians festival
In Alcoy, history, legend and spectacle come together in a celebration full of sparkle and fantasy to commemorate events that took place in the 13th century.
The festival of Moors and Christians is the most important event of the year in Alcoy. It is dedicated to San Jorge, a figure shrouded in ancestral traditions. The festival dates back to the 16th century and commemorates a battle which was fought in 1276. At that time, Alcoy stood on the border of the Muslim-held territories of Spain. There were frequent skirmishes between the two factions until, on 23 April 1276, the Arab troops of Al-Azraq attempted to storm the town. According to legend, San Jorge appeared during the battle and, thanks to his intervention, the Christian army won the day, forcing the Muslims to retreat and never to return. In recognition of his timely intercession, the townsfolk of Alcoy made him their patron saint and promised to hold a festival in his honour on 23 April every year.
Every year the city is decked out in the style of the Middle Ages to celebrate its 'fiesta mayor' (main festivity). On the first day, there is a spectacular procession of Moors and Christians: the different groups that make up each army march majestically through the streets of Alcoy resplendently attired in their elaborate costumes. Around 5,000 people take part in this highly popular event. On the second day, numerous different events are held in honour of San Jorge. On the final day, a huge battle is fought in Plaza de España square in a specially-built castle which represents the city. The Muslim troops approach the castle in an attempt to persuade the Christians to surrender, but the offer is rejected and the ensuing battle ends with the Moors taking over the stronghold. In the afternoon, the Christian army returns and succeeds in retaking the castle. Then, after unsuccessfully negotiating a surrender, the final battle begins in which the Moors are ultimately defeated. In the evening, an appearance by San Jorge marks the end of the three days of festivities, at least until the following year. The patron saint of Alcoy appears on horseback, shooting arrows from the top of the castle. If you like, you can even take some arrows home as a souvenir.
Internationaal erkend toeristisch feest
* In afwachting van bevestiging 2014
Alcoy-Alcoi, Alcoy (Alicante - Alacant)
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