El Campello Moors & Christians Festival
From the 11th of October to the 15th, the city of El Campello, on the Costa Blanca, celebrates its Moors and Christians festival.
Marking the clashes between Christians and Moorish invaders between the 8th and 15th centuries, locals don colourful period costumes and fight mock battles throughout the city.
On the night of the 11th a procession of all the festival participants winds through the city. As the two armies march to the sound of drums and trumpets, it’s a great opportunity to see the exquisite detail of the costumes up close. Such is the scale of the festival that the precession can last for around three hours. The night ends with speeches and a spectacular fireworks display.
The battles begin on the morning of the 12th with the gathering of Moorish ships off Carrer La Mar beach. On sighting the attackers, the defending Christians will light signal fires and ring bells as warning to the townspeople. An artillery battle then ensues, with both sides letting off cannons and handheld guns that shoot stunning flashes into the morning haze. Eventually the Moors make it to shore, beginning a close quarters battle.
There are further processions and battles throughout the festival. Following their victory at the beach, the Moors will march triumphantly into the centre of town. There are also running street battles along Generalitat Avenue on both the 13th and 14th, when the Moors are forced to make their retreat.
Another notable event is the more solemn procession on the 15th of October which honours the town’s patron saints; the Virgin of the Helpless and Saint Teresa, which starts from the castle.
A medieval market runs in Plaza de la Constitución throughout the duration of the festival with around 70 stalls selling crafts, gifts, jewellery and food (especially sweets). The market actually begins on the 4th of October so you don’t need to wait for the festival to begin for a taste of the medieval.
On the final day of the festival, bells ring out in the morning to mark the re-conquest of the town. Mascelta (noisy firecrackers) are set off in the afternoon at around 2pm and in the evening there is another impressive fireworks display above the town that brings the festivities to an end.
For a full schedule of El Campello’s 2013 Moors and Christians festival, click here.
El Campello is around a half hour’s drive from Alicante Airport and Drivalia Car Rental.