Wednesday 23 July 2008

Moors and Christians in La Vila Joiosa

The Moors and Christians festival in La Vila Joiosa in honour of Santa Marta have been declared to be of International Tourist Interest and are very popular with visitors who come to the historical capital of the Marina Baixa region in July. During July, local residents remember the desperate battle and commemorate the miracles attributed to their patron saint, Santa Marta.

2008 sees the 470th anniversary of the attempted invasion by Zalé-Arraez Berber pirates. The attempt failed due to a fierce storm that destroyed the Saracen fleet. Every year, local residents pay their own special tribute to the event with the parades of the Moorish and Christian groups. This year, the Arab army takes to the streets on July 25th in its spectacular finery. The following day sees the Christians counterattack with their spectacular costumes and hypnotic rhythms.

The high spot is undoubtedly the Moorish Landing which takes place in the early hours of July 28th on the Centro beach and consists of a naval battle between Moorish and Christian vessels, after which the participants jump into the water and swim ashore to take the castle, all to the sound of music and unending blunderbuss shots.