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20·AUG·2012

Moors and Christian Festival in Altea

Moors and Christian (Moros y Cristianos) Festivals are held in many towns and cities throughout Spain but most predominantly in the southern Valencian Community. The festivals commemorate the battles which took place for the control of Spain during the period known as Reconquista (from the 8th to the 15th century). One of these festivals on the Costa Blanca is that held at the end of September in Altea. This picturesque town is an easy drive north of Benidorm, around 10 minutes along the N332. You can park in the new part of town and walk up to the winding, white-washed streets of the old picturesque village. The festival starts on Friday 21 September and runs through until Tuesday 25 September 2012. Sunday is the main day of celebration but there are activities going on throughout the weekend. The 23rd and the 24th are local bank holidays. The ‘opposing forces’ of “Christians” and “Moors” (Moslems) parade through the streets dressed in impressive costumes, painstakingly created for the occasion. The costumes of the “Christians” comprise fur, leather and armour while the “Moors” wear Arabic-style clothes with swirling scimitars and axes. All accompanied by marching bands playing rousing music reminiscent of the period. (Play the video for an example).
Mock battles then ensue and everyone has a great time although the ending is of course the same each year! As you might expect, just like any Spanish Fiesta worthy of the name, there is food, wine and of course fireworks. A the time of writing the details of the fiesta are not available but you can view last year’s programme at comunitatvalenciana.com and for further information about Altea visit the official Town Hall site.