Fun and entertainment from the Middle Ages
Nostalgia for the good old middle ages, with the emphasis on only the good bits, reaches a crescendo in Capdepera in a few weeks time. The third weekend in May is the date for the now annual and extremely popular Medieval Fair in the town when thousands of visitors arrive to get a flavour – mostly pork – of the epoch of the Christian reconquest.
And what better place to hold such a market when the town, and its lofty castle, played such an important role in redefining Mallorca which until then had been under Moorish occupation. Built on Roman and then Moorish remains, the castle as we see it today was finalised by the Catalan King Jaime I.
Visible from Menorca, the king lit hundreds of campfires around the hilltop to trick the Moors occupying the neighbouring island into thinking that they were about to be invaded by a vast army and promptly surrendered, allowing Jaime to set about invading Valencia.
Surprisingly, even after hundreds of years of occupation, everyone – Jews, Christians, and Arabs – got along famously and the Medieval fair reflects the multiculturality (and religious tolerance) of the time with a myriad of street hawkers, stall, foods from all corners of the Mediterranean and entertainment aplenty – snake charmers, stilt walkers, acrobats, jugglers, strolling mummers and musicians, and my favourites, the Christian Knights in shining armour. I can not look at their photo and think about Monty Python and the Holy Grail!
The dates for your diary are Friday May 19th to Sunday May 21st from 10 in the morning until 9 at night with the main focus of the fair taking place around the castle area and spilling down the nearby streets on all three days. Now, tremendous fun that the middle ages were, you'll be pleased to hear that a few improvements have been made since then; there's no danger of us picking up a dose of bubonic plague, and there are public toilets just down the hill from the castle!