A trip to the past through the Medieval Days of Ávila

It is easy for any trip to Ávila to transport you to the Middle Ages. Between its walls with its towers and its doors, its palaces, its Romanesque churches, its cathedral, its alleys, its squares, its monasteries and its convents, it is easy to feel in another era. So it is difficult to imagine a more suitable and more spectacular setting than the city of Ávila itself to relive the Middle Ages for a whole weekend.

This year, from September 2 to 4, Ávila celebrates the XXV edition of its ‘Mercado de las Tres Culturas’, in which Christians, Jews and Muslims go hand in hand in a great medieval festival that in previous editions has come to congregate up to 100,000 visitors. The city and its people dress for the occasion, with flags that adorn squares, palaces and walls, and shields and pennants that are lowered at every step. With minstrels reciting romantic songs and troubadours playing their lutes, in our minds hotels become inns and bars authentic cantinas with their bartenders at the helm.



With its 12th century wall Ávila is one of the best preserved medieval walled enclosures in the world, and it is not by chance that UNESCO named it a World Heritage Site in 1985. The celebration of its Medieval Days is the most important tourist event of the year for Ávila and without a doubt one of the most unique medieval events in the whole country. Well, if you think about it, in few places will characters such as buffoons and mountebanks, fantastic and mythological beings, sorcerers and knights integrate as well into the environment as in Ávila, always between parades, musicians, dances, fire shows, puppets, humor and much laughter.



Archers, falconry and tournaments for a trip back in time in style

You will soon see that the Medieval Days of Ávila are not just another medieval festival, but not by chance the ‘Mercado de las Tres Culturas’ has been considered a Festival of Regional Tourist Interest since September 2017. This year, in addition, in the celebration of its twenty-fifth anniversary, the city goes all out to celebrate a weekend like never seen before. 250 archers from different parts of Spain will show their skill in exhibitions that will take place daily in the Garden of San Vicente, so as centuries ago, hundreds of arrows will once again cross the sky of Avila, but now before the astonished gaze of their thousands of visitors.

One more year, falconry will once again have a leading role. Birds of prey and lovers of their flight will gather at the San Isidro Atrium, where on Friday and Saturday they will be able to attend different exhibitions in which children and adults will learn more about various species of raptors. And of course, the Medieval Days of Ávila would not be the same without its already famous tournaments, in which on horseback, and dressed with shields and lances, the knights with their shining armor will once again demonstrate their strength on the battlefield, with medieval fencing matches included.



There is oneity that turns over completely

In Ávila everyone wants to be part of its medieval festival, it is an atmosphere that is contagious and spreads through each and every one of its streets, and the Parade of the Three Cultures that takes place on Saturday morning is already a tradition. The Mercado Chico square is its starting point and the streets of the medieval market lay out the route. Here you will see the most careful and luxurious clothing, with rich embroidery, velvet and flag dances that fill everything with color in its path. To be one more, some local businesses sell, rent or even make the necessary period outfits to order with which we can join the party with our most medieval self, whether dressed as a jester, a troubadour or a damsel, to put it alone. some examples. This way we can live the Middle Ages as authentic protagonists.

Throughout the weekend the parades will parade tirelessly setting the rhythm of the festival with its theme ‘The capture of the dragons’, while about 220 artisans will occupy the market stalls to show their talent and their products. The entire city is a real hive during the days and even the little ones will have an appointment especially aimed at them with the Children’s Race of the Three Cultures that starts from Calle San Segundo. The San Vicente Gardens, from Friday to Sunday and with different morning and afternoon schedules, will be the scene of various puppet shows.



Workshops, gastronomy and a program full of activities

But the Medieval Days of Ávila are not only a festival in which to walk and see, but also in which we can do, play and learn. The Episcope itself also becomes a center of activities and, in addition to hosting an exhibition of medieval costumes, workshops are held there to delve into the art of the highest medieval tailoring. And if gastronomy is our thing, then we must go through the kitchens of the Superunda Palace, where the Caprotti – De la Torre Collection is located, because a showcooking with Jewish flavors will take place there in which to discover ‘Jewish cuisine, from the everyday to the sacred’.

Throughout the weekend there will also be costume contests, where work and originality will be rewarded, as well as prizes for the best decorated shop windows for the occasion and the balconies with the best medieval inspiration. And to remember other editions, there is nothing like visiting the Palacio de los Verdugo, where the best snapshots of the festival have been exhibited since August and you can see the winning photographs of the already traditional photography contest that, of course, will be held again this year.



From September 2 to 4, wherever you look, in Ávila you will forget that you are in the 21st century and you will believe that you have traveled to the Middle Ages. So that you don’t miss anything and have at hand the time and place of all the activities of the XXV Medieval Days of Ávila, here is the 2022 program of the ‘Market of the Three Cultures’. With him and your best medieval finery you already have everything to immerse yourself in the middle of the Middle Ages just by stopping by Ávila the first weekend of September.

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