Can you name one festival on earth that doesn’t only take place in one particular city, but generates festivity and joy throughout a whole nation? In Spain it’s possible! The Moros y Cristianos Festival is an event celebrated mainly in the Spanish province of Valencia, but one that also finds home in villages and cities in other regions of the warm and sunny country. The festival memorializes the ancient fights between the Moors and Christians during the Reconquista period, and carries a lot of historical value because of this. It lasts for a number of days and exists out of parades, presentation of medieval fashion, music from the same period of time, battles between the former “rivals” and fireworks.
History takes us back to the year 711, the time period in which Tariq ibn Ziyad was the leader of a very vigorous army in Gibraltar. Despite his noted strength he got defeated rapidly by forces King Roderick’s army. A 700 year hundred battle between both Christian and Islamic parties found its beginning, and even though the Moors lacked the significant ability to protect their own territory, the whole war lasted until the late days of 1492. The Christians had won. This is the reason the event is still being celebrated by this very day.
Locals dress up like either Moors or Christians and re-enact the former battles between both parties. The biggest implementation of the festival takes place in the city Alcoi at the end of April. There is live marching band playing marches moras music and the Spanish people once again expose their unconditional love for fireworks. Also streets are decorated extensively and Red Cross flags are hanging at every street corner. There is an unexplained connection between the Spanish people and their historical siestas. Such passion and enthusiasm can’t be found anywhere but in-between the Mediterranean palm trees of the Spanish East Coast. Missing the event is no option, and people of all ages will make sure to be present the days the festival takes place even if this means traveling from the other side of the country. Preparations for the festival start almost a year beforehand. Fundraisers are being held and everyone contributes to make sure the festival is nothing but one big success by the time the last days of April arrive.
If you’re interested in visiting Spain and being a part of this enormous spectacle (whichever place in Spain you chose as your city of residence) be aware of the fact that the corresponding traditional costumes are pricey and that it isn’t always easy to get your hands on a proper one. Also, there are enough hotels available in the celebrating villages and metropolises but you have to be on time with booking. The events are always extremely popular, and if you don’t decide quickly, somebody else might take your wanted place. It’s also important to look up the dates of the event before booking, every city has a different timetable, and even though dates can be close, it’s not the same in every city.
How to Get There?
Close to Alcoy there are two international airports, one in Valencia and the other in Alicante. There are direct flights into Alicante and Valencia from London, with Ryanair, Iberia, Easyjet, British Airways. From Valencia to Alcoy its an easy ride by car, all you have to do is take the A-7 highway south direction directly from Valencia to Alcoy. Its a total of 110 km which should take you one hour and 20 minutes to get there. From Alicante it is evern closer. You just take the A-7 north direction. Its only 60 km away around 50 minutes distance. You can also take the train, and actually it takes less time to take the train from Valencia then it does from Alicante because the train goes in a straight path from Valencia. It takes two and half hours by train from Valencia Estacio del Nord station to Alcoy. From Alicante even though its closer it takes almost 4 hours.