THE streets of Bocairent in Valencia will reverberate to the sounds of clashing scimitars and gunfire as Moors and Christians maraud through the town to mark the ancient battles when the area was taken over by Moorish invaders, only to be overthrown by the Christians centuries later.
The first weekend in February sees Bocairent kick off the round of Moros y Cristianos (Moors and Christians) festivals that take place throughout Spain. Visually spectacular, the event commemorates the Moors and Christians’ struggle for control of the country, with Christian crusaders eventually triumphing over their Arabic North African neighbours.
Complete with camels, horses, armour, guns, swords and – in some places – elephants, many towns and cities hold Moors and Christians festivals to commemorate Spain’s rich and culturally diverse past. Medieval music and spectacularly colourful parades over a number of days mark the festival that usually culminates in a mock battle to remember the Christian ‘reconquest’.