Medieval Market and Historical Re-enactment in Estercuel (Teruel)

AMATAAnybody living on the coast wanting to visit a tiny village in Teruel some 800 m. above sea level, at this, the coldest time of the year, must have a pretty good reason. Well, on 9 and 10 March two whole busloads of actors from Lérida plus twenty craftsmen and women mix with the 500 inhabitants of Estercuel to take part in a historic re-enactment. It may be cold, butIt all started in 2009, when Estercuel decided to celebrate its 800th birthday. Not with a large cake and an awful lot of candles, but with a host of actors, knights and horsemen who filled the village; the party was such a success that the village decided, come what may, they would re-enact a part of their history every two years. This year - the third time Estercuel holds such a feast - deals with the period 1250 to 1300, and the whole village plus the 100 or so actors that came in the buses will take visitors back to those interesting days there's an awful lot to see and do during this "Encuentro con la Historia".

 

The group of actors, led by the village historian, a priest working in Lérida but born in Estercuel, will re-enact the Visitation of "la Virgen del Olivar"; there will also be processions of the participants dressed in costly medieval costumes through the richly decorated streets. Unfortunately there was no room for the horses in the bus, but there will still be knights and their ladies, their servants and all the other personages that make up a typical medieval street.

As part of this scene, the craft association Amata will hold a small but select market with some 20 stalls that sell only the work of the stall holder - just the place where a noble knight can buy a token for his gentle lady, or a servant for his buxom wench. Or something decorative to brighten the interior of castle or cottage, or enhance the appearance of the most fastidious nobleman or aspiring burgher.

Estercuel itself is a small village with narrow streets, old buildings, stone porches and a small decorative palace in whose cellars a very interesting little museum has been set up. Normally the museum can be visited by appointment only, but during the fiesta it is open to one and all.

Four km from the village lies the well-known Monasterio de Santa María del Olivar, dedicated to the remembrance of the Virgen del Olivar, which also offers hotel accommodation to ordinary visitors in its 30 bedrooms. In the village itself is another, smaller, hotel (978 752 370). The impressive route from Teruel along the N420 rises to over 1400 m. affords lovely views over the surrounding countryside and near to Estercuel there are old ice store caverns, old coal mines and a number of sign-posted walking routes. Take along lots of warm clothing.

You can find photographs of Estercuel and previous re-enactments on http://www.foro-ciudad.com/teruel/estercuel/fotos/; more information on the village and the Monasterio on www.estercuel.org and find out more about this craft market by ringing 639 979 678 (English spoken), or other craft markets on www.amata.es (in Spanish and English).

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