The town Orihuela, not to be confused with the beach resort of Orihuela Costa on the Mediterranean, is located at a distance of approx. 60km from Alicante on Spain´s Costa Blanca.
What makes Orihuela special, is the medieval town center with a cathedral, palaces, churches and cloisters.
These marvelous and well preserved buildings, form a natural stage for one of the biggest festivals in town: the Medieval Market.
It is one of the largest and best medieval festivals in Spain with hundreds of stalls spread out over three kilometers.
Every year at the last weekend in January, Orihuela turns the clock back for hundreds of years and hosts a festival which brings back life as is was in the Middle Ages.
The market covers a huge area beginning at the cathedral with countless stalls, selling food and drink, trinkets, artifacts, jewelry and clothes, all vendors being dressed up in period costumes.
In between meander musicians, drummers and groups parading in ever more fanciful outfits and entertaining visitors with their performances.
Along the side of the cathedral, rare birds of prey, so typical of the falconers of the times, are sitting on their perches, watching the passers by with attentive eyes.
They are a delight for kids, because the accompanying falconer will put a thick leather glove on their arm and let a bird sit on it.
At midday a play is performed in front of the town hall and in side alleys puppeteers let their figures dance to the delight of young and old.
Nobody needs to go hungry at this fair, a popular attraction are suckling pigs roasting on a spit.
Vegetarians can indulge in helpings from roasted vegetables prepared with potato slices in huge, flat pans, similar to those used for making paella.
Another alley is dedicated to the trades of the time.
Stone masons demonstrate their skills, as do bakers and pastry cooks, shoe makers and weavers.
You can buy bread with nuts and raisins, cakes and sweets, spices, cheeses and sausages, wine and olive oil.
The Arabic past is never forgotten in Spain and therefore you´ll also find a bazaar, complete with camels, kids and grown ups alike can take a ride on and even a belly dancer sashaying down the street with her musicians.
Maybe the market isn´t totally authentic as far as medieval culture is concerned, but, who cares? It´s a hugely entertaining event which makes for a great day out for young and old.
Picture Gallery from the Medieval Market
All Pictures ©Inka Piegsa-quischotte