Amata Medievil Markets

Two Medieval Markets in one weekend

During the last few years, almost every town has organised one or more Medieval Markets.  Although one would expect this to be an excellent opportunity to find traditional craft work, many of the stalls in these markets display only the cheap products that can be bought in almost any bazaar - products which are in fact made in large quantities in Third World countries.  The craft association Amata has lately been making every effort to convince Town Halls that simply spending a lot of money on decoration and spectacular shows in a Medieval Market is not enough to make it into a really interesting event.  Most of its charm is lost if little or no attention is paid to the quality of the products on the stalls.  Fortunately, more and more Town Halls are beginning to see the importance of proper craftwork in their Medieval Market, which is why Amata is being given more opportunities of late to organise good quality markets.  So much so that Amata will be organising two Medieval Markets on the weekend of 9, 10 and 11 May - one in Manises (near the city of

 

Valencia) and one in Alcantarilla (near the city of Murcia).

 

 

The participants of both markets have been carefully selected so as to offer a wide range of hand made products of good quality: silver and enamel jewelry, leather bags, shoes and sandals, handwoven shawls and turned wood, pottery and leaded glass, wooden toys and puppets.  As each stall is manned by the actual craft man or woman, you can even place special orders, often carried out on the spot because most artesans bring their tools along.  However, although the craftwork and the atmosphere of both markets is of the same quality, they offer different programmes of entertainment.

 



9, 10 and 11 May - Alcantarilla.*   The Medieval Market in Alcantarilla

will be held in the Plaza de San Francisco, the square in front of the former "Padres Mínimos" monastery.  Some 60 craft stalls will take part, as well as stalls selling sweet and savoury food prepared to traditional recipes, a medieval tavern and an Arab tea tent.  Master craftsmen will demonstrate wood carving, paper making, pottery and baking bread in a wood oven.  For the children there is a miniature farm yard, donkeys on which to ride round the market and workshops where they can learn the

basics of craftwork.   Minstrels, people on stilts, figures with

enormous carnaval heads, gentlefolk and beggars mingle with the motley crowd; from time to time there are performances by acrobats, jugglers, fighting dwarves and in the evening the acrobats play with fire.


Opening times are on the Friday from 6 p.m. onwards; Saturday the 10th and Sunday the 11th from 11am till 2pm and from 6pm till 10pm or later.

Alcantarilla lies almost next to the city of Murcia and is an interesting place to visit.  There is the neo-baroque parish church of La Asunción and the 17th century  Casa de la Cayitas (now a library).

The Museo de la Huerta, an open air museum dedicated to market gardening, lies very near the market.  Here you can see barracas (the typical sheds of the area with their sharply pointed thatched roofs), an exhibition of tools and clothing, a paternoster for bringing up water for irrigation and extensive gardens.  Nearby, on the road to Javalí Nuevo, is a beautifully preserved aquaduct with handsome stone arches.


10 and 11 May - In Manises, the Medieval Market is to be held in the Paseo Guillermo de Osma near the Manises underground station of lines 3 and 5.  Some 60 craft stalls are expected, together with a smithy, a baker and his wood oven, and a craftsman working with leaded glass.

There is a falconer with birds of prey, a small farm yard for the children, a gaggle of geese that walks from time to time through the market and a donkey caravan.  A group of knights shows off medieval fighting techniques, puts on miniature plays and waves large flags in an graceful and impressive display.  In the evening these knights will fight fire with fire!  Children can practice fighting techniques with rubber swords while wearing strong cardboard helmets, or, for the more peaceful, there are medieval games of skill in another corner.

Musicians, people on stilts, a dancing bear (no, no, not a real one, although bear-sized) and a number of typical medieval characters enliven the market.

Opening times are on Saturday the 10th and Sunday the 11th from 11am till 2pm and from 5pm till 9pm or later.


Manises, which lies next to Valencia airport, is one of Spain's best-known ceramics centres.  Many of the town houses are decorated with the typical colourful local tiles, there is a ceramics museum (C/ Sagrario 22, open 10 am to 1 pm and 4 to 7 pm every day, open Sundays from 11 am to 2 pm, and shut on the Monday) and near the market there is the tourist office and a small park with tiled walls showing the history of the town.

More information about both markets, also in English, on 639 979 678.

Photographs of previous Amata-markets you can find on www.amata.es.

Additional information