Moors and Christians Festival

This shot was taken at the Moors and Christians Festival in Alcoy, Spain, in May 2011. This is a close-up of one of the helmets worn by a Christian warrior during the festival.

This festival commemorates the battle for Alcoy which was fought on April 23, 1276, between Moorish and Christian armies, for control of the city.  At the time of the battle, much of Spain was still under Muslim control and Alcoy was on the border between Muslim and Christian controlled areas. The battle seemed to have been won by the Moors when, according to legend, an apparition of St. George appeared –  which rallied the Christian troops who then forced the Moors to retreat. As a result of the Christian victory, the Moors never returned.  The people of Alcoy, to show their thanks to St. George for leading them to victory in the battle, made him the patron Saint of the city.  This festival is held every year to honor him.

The main activities of the festival last three days.  The festival is usually held around April 24th every year but because Semana Santa (Holy Week) fell at that time this year, the festival was moved to mid-May. The highlight of the three day festival is called “La Entrada” – The Entrance of the armies, which is a spectacular parade that goes on for around 10 hours and includes an estimated 10,000 participants.

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