ORIIHUELA’S much-loved annual Medieval Market of Orihuela is to be replaced this year by a series of processions through the streets.
Rising Covid figures in the region and concerns over social-distancing have meant the event, that normally attracts tens of thousands of visitors, is cancelled for a second year.
The city’s Tourism Team have tried to promote the marches as a suitable replacement, but many feel nothing can replace the excitement and atmosphere of the real thing.
Mariola Rocamora, local Tourism Councillor, said the marches, “will be centred in the medieval atmosphere that permeates the city every year with its traditional Medieval Market.”
Events start Saturday February 5, with the activity “Legends of Medieval Heroes”, at 6.30pm and again at 7.30pm.9
Historical figures such as the Catholic Monarchs will form part of the theatrical route of “Medieval Orihuela”.
The procession is repeated at noon the following day, followed by family games held in “Medieval Duels” at 12.30pm in the Plaza de la Soledad, next to the Tourist Office.
The following weekend, events start at 7.30pm on Friday 11 with a guided route from the Tourist Office, “dedicated to the Entry of the Bishop into the City, an act that dates back to the 16th century.
More guides and routes are planned for Saturday 12 and Sunday 13.
The following Saturday, February 19, an organised route of “Legends” starts at 7.30pm, with the “Ascent to the Castle” at 11.30am on Sunday 20.
The month finishes with craft workshops making animal masks in the Plaza de la Soledad, next to the Tourist Office.
Despite the month missing the traditional city-wide market, Rocamora is still encouraging people to visit Orihuela.
She said the processions and workshops will help visitors, “learn a little more the history of our city, in a lively and fun way.”
Nicola Kennerley is a British expat and resident of nearby Formentera, she described the market’s cancellation as, “a great loss.”
She lamented, “Processions and marches are okay for younger ones and it gives the council a reason to say they’re doing something (other than nothing).”
“But,” she continued, “I was so looking forward to the market, it’s a great atmosphere and there’s such a variety of stalls and other things going on.”
The 39-year-old, originally from Sunderland, claimed: “I first went in 2020 and it was an absolute treat, a riot of colour.”
But with the continued uncertainty of the Coronavirus spread and the higher incidences of the Omincron variant, it looks as if traditional street markets like Orihuela will be off the agenda for some time.
People interested in participating in the routes can make their reservations on the website www.orihuelaturística.es