Alcoy: Festival of Moors & Christians

More than a hundred festivals celebrating the legendary battles between the Moors and Christians take place every year across Spain. The largest and most popular of these occurs in the beautiful Valencian mountain town of Alcoy.

Alcoy’s festival takes place on the 22nd, 23rd and 24th of April. The first day is focused on processions, the second is dedicated to Saint George, and the third day sees noisy and chaotic recreations of the battle. The events are based loosely on King Jamie I’s victorious Battle of Alcoy in the 13th century.

At first, the festival’s name led me to believe that it celebrated the once-peaceful coexistence of the Christians and Moors (peaceful, at least, while under Moorish rule). I should have known better. Without trying to get too political, the existence of such a festival makes me wonder if a full healing of the rift between Arabs and Christians is even possible in southern Spain. I mean, the festival’s message is, “Hooray, we whooped your moorish ass”. How many centuries do we have to wait, before the bad blood evaporates? Or is Alcoy just throwing a fun party, to which I’m attributing too much meaning?

Unfortunately, we’re not going to make it this year to the fiesta, due to prior engagements. But Alcoy definitely seems to be worth a visit, fiesta or no fiesta. It has 60,000 inhabitants and is gorgeously nestled among a few mountain ranges. A day in the city & a day hiking around the mountains sounds like a pretty perfect weekend. From Valencia city, there is a bus which takes about an hour and 20 minutes, and costs €7.75 (more information here)

Link: Alcoyfoto.com – Photos of Alcoy
Link: Alcoy.es – Alcoy’s webpage, with a ton of information (Spanish)
Location on our Valencia Map

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This Post Has 7 Comments

  1. Trimusical

    In my opinion the Alcoy festival is only used to commemorate the battle between moors and christians and not to proclaim any kind of contempt. There are many muslim people living in Alcoy and we all try to respect each other and live in peace.

    Nowadays, I don’t think anybody cares about the historical part of it, and it has become just 4 days of fun 🙂

  2. valencia blog

    Trimusical,

    you are from Alcoy? Since, we won’t be able to make it this year – maybe you would like to cover the event this year and a write a guest blog entry for Hola Valencia.

    What do you think?

  3. Chris

    I went to one of these parades near Alicante one summer. It was ok for the first hour, but it just kept going and going and going. Was very ready to leave by the end! 3 days of the stuff would kill me!

  4. valencia blog

    This is nothing compared to 15 days of Fallas, lol! Good to see you here on HVBlog.

  5. miguel

    friends alcoy is a very beautiful city come on to these and if you criticate this festivals you kill hahhahahaha im from alcoy and is the best 😀

  6. Fernando

    My answer: “Alcoy is just throwing a fun party, to which I’m attributing too much meaning?”
    Actually, people from Alcoi prefers to be moor, their clothers are better, and their music makes everybody start to drop tears of emotion… being moor is cooler.
    Only radical organizations claims against that festival.

    It runs on 3 days, you can watch there mascletas, castillos and things like that…
    – Day 22 is the main day, the day with the parade… I recommend to go there after lunch, moor parade starts around 16:00 and ends around 21:30, then you can have “fiesta”
    – 23 is religiuos, you can visit the town, the mountains, or go trekking.
    – 24… another crazyness, the battle: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WlWxndLzGDM http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vG2t88Uu_as http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rAjIJd8BajY&feature=related

    The weekend before those days, there’s fiesta too, and you can hear moor music live: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wt9dIVTvLAo

    Bus is the fastest mean of transport, but you can get also a train. The trip is longer, but you travel inside the mountains and valleys. Get well informed at the Renfe station before.

  7. valencia blog

    Fernando,

    Thank you very much for your additions. We will have guests for the festival this year so we are planing on going there this time ourselves.

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