The first time that this Medieval Festival was celebrated in Alburquerque was in 1994 to improve the popularity of this town of Extremadura, since its historical origins and medieval heritage should be presented all around the world. The local inhabitants were in charge of recreating the vicissitudes of the coexistence between Muslims, Catholics and Jews; an opportunity for everyone to have a great time. Since then, the festival has continued to grab visitors’ attention from other parts of Spain. The events that make up the festival usually begin on 15th August, a Spanish bank holiday, and are organized over four days.
The entire village travels back in time to the Middle Ages. The bars are now taverns, the inhabitants are medieval villagers and the musicians are troubadours. This incredible metamorphosis is possible thanks to the participations of the local residents since they are in charge of transforming their own houses as inns, decorate the streets and dress up in medieval costumes. For their dedication, Alburquerque has been awarded the ‘Premio Mundo Teatro’ (Theatre World Award), a prestigious European award in the world of acting, which they have won as a collective performance.
Small theatrical performances take place one after the other in the streets. During these days, you can stroll through the town among beggars, knights and courtiers and have a beer in an earthenware jug or a traditional dish at a country inn (paying with maravedis, of course), take part in the popular dinners and dances or attend the burning of heretics in an act of faith.
The most important theatrical story is that of Don Pedro of Portugal and Doña Inés of Castro, a Portuguese prince who arrives from far away to marry in secret a lady secluded in the castle. This wedding takes places on the main day of the festival, which is the most visited day and lasts until the early hours of the morning. Besides, some witches’ Sabbaths are celebrated in this realistic festival.
Its medieval heritage has a relevance during these public events since some concerts, knighting and relic processions take place in Santa María del Mercado church. In the Old Town there are medieval markets, parades and performances by fire-eaters and acrobats, while in the majestic Luna Castle everything is decorated as it was in medieval times, recreating court life and constituting an authentic museum of the Middle Ages.
Visitors can also enjoy the history of the different monuments thanks to some organized guided tours. These are undoubtedly days to live a unique experience, immersed in a historic town. Through its streets, perhaps a rascal will steal some maravedis, a damsel will make us fall in love or a knight will amaze us with his bravery in the tournament. In any case, they will make it difficult to forget this visit to the Medieval Festival of Alburquerque.