Moors and Christians is such a special time of year in Guardamar del Segura. From the 20th to the 29th of July, a whole host of entertainment is on offer to visitors as the town pays its respects to Santiago Apóstol, also known as St James, San Jaime and Sant Jaume. There is so much going on that it’s almost impossible to take it all in, so here are some of the things that we at Anything But Paella think are unmissable! Apologies for the quantity of photographs, but if this doesn’t tempt you, nothing will! The full programme can be downloaded here if you are afraid that we’ve left something out.
At 11pm on Friday 20 July, you should be in the town hall square to witness a true spectacle of light, water and fire. The story of a young girl will unfold before you, which forms the basis of the legend of the Dama de Guardamar, the symbol of the town. She falls under a spell and can only be released by a brave warrior. The problem is that he first has to battle against the forces of evil, a dragon, in order to free her. The spell can only be broken if he bathes her feet in the River Segura. Fortunately he completes the quest and they live happily ever after. It is a magical thing to see, and don’t be put off by the fact that the commentary is in Valenciana; you don’t really need to understand it to be enchanted by what you see. Before the show starts the Fiesta Queen and her maidens of honour will be presented to the onlooking crowd during a ceremony for the flag bearers of the different groups of Moors and Christians from around the town.
On Saturday 28th and Sunday 29th July you will be able to see the groups of Moors and Christians parade through the streets of Guardamar from 8.30pm. The parades last a good few hours but time will fly as you stare in awe and wonder at the costumes on display. Following the parade on the Sunday night there will be a huge firework display on the beach.
On Monday 23rd July you can experience what can only be described as sheer madness in the streets around the town hall from 10.30pm. There’s a truly medieval and macabre feeling in the air as devils dance through the streets in a shower of sparks from a multitude of fireworks. To the uninitiated it can feel a little unsafe and unsettling, but it’s actually a lot of fun!
On Sunday 22 July the medieval market begins and it will be in full swing from 6pm each evening over three days. We may be a bit biased, but it’s the best medieval market we’ve been to. The sights and the smells will have you mesmerised. There’s plenty of paella, meat on the grill, or just pastries and snacks to keep your hunger at bay. The displays of dancing, archery and sword fighting are incredible too.
GASTROTRUCK AND FUNFAIR
From Friday 20th until Sunday 22nd there will be late night entertainment on the big car park at the foot of the castle in Guardamar. The Gastrotrucks will tempt you with food from around the world while the funfair rides will challenge you to keep it down! There are also free music concerts on the stage, but they won’t start until midnight!!
YOU WANT MORE?
There’s a fancy dress parade at 10pm on Saturday 21st. On Tuesday 24th you can see a theatrical re-enactment of the signing of the Treaty of Tudmir where the local territories were signed away to the Moorish leaders. There are various religious processions complete with the pomp and ceremony that the brass bands bring with them. At 1pm on Wednesday 25th there is a Mascletà outside the town hall. That’s great if smoke and bangs are your thing! On Thursday 26th at 8pm you can see a battle re-enactment where the Moors take the castle (actually the town hall!) whilst the Christians take it back the following night. It really is party time in Guardamar for the entire fiesta.