The mayor of Orihuela, Emilio Bascuñana, finally opened Orihuela’s 20th Medieval Market late on Friday, accompanied by the Councillor of Festivities, Mariola Rocamora, the 2017 Armengola, Conchi Cabrera, this year’s ambassadors, Isidro Hernández and Enrique Riquelme, and the President of the Moors and Christians Association, Pepe Vegara.
The ceremony, which had to be postponed until 6pm because of the rain that fell incessantly from the early morning. It began with a parade into the city of Jaime I of Aragón with his courtiers, the Armengola and the mayor ending at the town hall where they signed the Book of which officially opened the medieval weekend.
This year’s market, with over 300 stalls, is now officially the largest in Spain. The stalls were dispersed across the Christian, children’s and leisure areas and Arab the zone, and remained in the city streets until 9.30 pm on Sunday evening when the closing parade took place.
The mayor said that he wanted to “encourage all residents and visitors to enjoy Medieval Orihuela and enjoy their experience with this period of history, a living history thanks to the city’s rich historical heritage.”
In anticipation of the many thousands of visitors descending on the market the Department of Emergencies has available three defibrillators to deal with any cardiovascular emergency, a field hospital, two advanced command posts, health care and fire fighting vehicles and 17 personnel from the Red Cross and Civil Protection.
On Saturday lunchtime the Armengola 2017, Conchi Cabrera, read the medieval proclamation from the balcony of the City Council. She was accompanied by the mayor, Emilio Bascuñana, and the councillor of Festivities, Mariola Rocamora.
Legend has it that in the thirteenth century the Armengola warned the Christian soldiers in the city of a plan by the Moors to slaughter them all while they slept, since which time she has been commemorated in the city during the Moors and Christians Festival.