The festival, declared of Tourist Interest in Galicia, is held in Pontevedra at the end of the summer holidays. Participating in this event, greatly enjoyed by the inhabitants of the city, is like making a journey back in time to the 14th century. For two days, craftspersons, blacksmiths, carpenters, minstrels and knights fill the historic city centre, which is covered in straw and decorated with elements of the time.
The programme of activities includes recreations of traditional trades, and among them, it stands out the transport of wine using oxen, which begins at the Santa Clara Convent and crosses the historical city centre until reaching A Peregrina Square. There are also medieval tournaments and other shows for the whole family which include mythological creatures as dragons or elves.
The stands of food and hand-made products are distributed throughout the different squares of the city, and great feasts are held in the streets, prior municipal authorization, around big tables that locals decorate themselves.
However, not only locals, wearing their period costumes, participate in the Feira Franca, since there are also people who visit the city every year to enjoy the event.
Official website: http://feirafranca.pontevedra.gal/
A historical city
The celebration of the Feira Franca is the perfect opportunity to visit the historic centre of Pontevedra, located inside the old fortified area. The best way to discover it is wandering its streets, paying attention to their names and to the unique spaces you find between the traditional and ancestral houses. There are a lot of squares, some important examples are A Ferrería, A Leña, O Teucro and A Verdura, where three of the buildings of the Museum of Pontevedra are located. In the same area you can find the Santa Clara Convent and the churches of San Bartolomeu, San Francisco and A Peregrina, which is connected with the Portuguese Way of Saint James.
You can also discover the Ruins of Santo Domingo, one of the most important city monuments, which houses some archaeological artefacts. Close to it, you find the basilica of Santa María a Maior, with a perfectly carved façade of Plateresque style (relating to the 16th century Spanish architecture and art, characterized by rich ornamentation). This church was built by order of the seafarers' association Gremio de Mareantes in the 15th century.
Every year, during the first week of September, Pontevedra goes back to the Medieval Ages to commemorate the privilege King Henry IV of Castile granted to the city, allowing to set up a tax-free market for a month. Thousands of people in period dress participate in this Feira Franca to recreate this historic event