The Medieval Fair is an event that takes place in the old town of Betanzos and recreates during three days, a medieval market. It is celebrated every year, usually during the second weekend of July.
Its origin goes back to the time of King Henry IV, who approved for first time the celebration of a fair free of taxes and during thirty days. This event took place between November 1st and 30th and was formalized by letter of privilege in 1467. Seven years later, the Catholic Monarchs confirmed this celebration, and the market was celebrated until the end of the eighteenth century, being one of the most important commercial events of the Kingdom of Galicia.
In 1998, inhabitants of Betanzos took up the tradition by celebrating the first edition of the current Medieval Fair, between 10th and 12th of July, and since then, the second weekend of this month, the city returns to the past. Thus, they recreate the medieval market with all details: streets are decorated with banners, people dress medieval clothes, dozens of artisans show their work, lots of activities are scheduled and people are invited to take part in workshops and outdoor games. The best known part of these days is the burning of the witch, where medieval tournaments with warriors fighting on horseback and falconry are the main attraction, but also juggling and archery games.
In addition, important historical events of the town are performed with the participation of neighbors. Some of them are the great fire of 1569, the arrival of the Lord of Andrade to the city, the Battle of Figueiras or the Irmandiña revolt. There is also an historical recreation of the plague and diseases that devastated the city in 1381 and which ended with the capture and subsequent expulsion of the lepers from the city.
The number of visitors is growing every year and in 2013 it was named Galician Tourist Interest Festival. Obviously the huge involvement of inhabitants and visitors who create an incredible atmosphere has helped to receive this distinction.
This year, the Medieval Fair of Betanzos is preparing its XX edition, and will be celebrated between 7th and 9th of July. If you decide to come, you will be carried away by the charm of the past and will have an unforgettable experience for sure.