Return to the Middle Ages

Dressing up in period clothes is an essential condition to enjoy these historical festivals and, to receive the approval of the organizers of the event. Baiona, Pontevedra and Agolada travel back in time and invite you to visit them and to know how they lived at that historic period.

Chronologically the first celebration of historic character of the year is the Arribada in Baiona. This town was the first place in Europe to receive word about the discovery of America. This festival, celebrated every year during the first weekend in March, has been awarded National Tourist Interest status in 2015 for its commemoration of the arrival of the caravel La Pinta. More than 400 stalls are set up along the streets of the old town and keep the tradition of hospitality of the town to the crew of the vessel that arrived to this land, offering the visitors local delicacies and sweets from the area. Some, such as the famous Sarmiento cake or the popular ñoclos (round sweetmeat), a dessert of Jewish origin, are some of the official products of the festival. The joust, the falconry display, the fencing bout and the archery competition turn Baiona into a medieval setting, which helps that most visitors come dressed in period costumes.

If in summer the idea of experiencing the charm of a medieval Feira Franca appeals to you, simply visit the city of Pontevedra on the first weekend of September. This Festival of Tourist Interest accurately recreates the markets of the time.

The original premises of a large medieval market have been preserved in Agolada too. Every year in July, the town holds the Mostra de Artesanía (crafts show), recreating the activity of a traditional market from this period in history.

A few months later, in August, the municipality of Agolada celebrates its big market. This place in itself is a treasure of Galician architectural heritage, such as its hórreos (raised granaries) and mills. The pendellos, built with wood, tile and stone, are a kind of sheds used as market stalls and that were built in the 18th century. The economy of the area was based in this market, located in the centre of the village and declared a historic-artistic site. Visiting it at any day of the year is a travel in time, but if you can enjoy the activity of the market, the experience will be much more satisfying.

Cornbread, queimada (traditional Galician spirit) or lacón (pork shoulder), among others, are some of the products that can be tasted in the must stops among craft stalls. You will go a few centuries back in time if you visit the surroundings: the Romanesque churches of Santa María de Ventosa, dating from the 13th century, and San Pedro de Vilanova de Dozón, from 1154.

On the first weekend of September in the city of Pontevedra you can experience the charm of a medieval festival, Feira Franca, declared of Tourist Interest in Galicia, which recreates the markets of the medieval period. King Henry IV granted in 1467 to the town of Pontevedra the privilege to hold a duty-free market for a month, coinciding with the feast of St. Bartholomew in the middle of that month. Fishing and trade were, until the 16th century, the engines of economic growth in Pontevedra, which is represented in the century construction of the Basilica of Santa María La Mayor, promoted by the powerful Guild of Merchants.

Since 1999 more than 100,000 people have come to Pontevedra to enjoy a meal outdoors in the streets of the city. About 250 tables are set where families and groups of people are tasting menus inspired in medieval times. Since Friday afternoon, when the persons who make the initial speech of the festival open the event, different activities and shows follow one another; Saturday is the big day, with the exhibition of traditional trades, wine transport, and the great banquet held in the historic centre and surrounding areas. The stalls and tables must be strictly decorated in compliance with the rules of the festival; in fact, obtaining a place for your stall or table is very difficult during the previous weeks.

Musical performances, sports competitions of the time and the medieval tournament held in the bullring, with its seating capacity completed every year, are the highlights of this day.

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