There was a touch of Renaissance in Velez-Blanco on Saturday July 23 2016 when the stunning Almeria town reenacted the visit of Queen Isabel of Portugal in 1526.
In the 16th Century, the first Marquis of Vélez, Pedro Fajardo, enjoyed the same mountain spring water and spectacular views that can be enjoyed today in Velez-Blanco. Accompanying him for a visit was Queen Isabel of Portugal on her journey to Valladolid.
Immensely proud of its history, Velez-Blanco and its residents, along with its twin town of Padules, reenacted the event in this sixth edition of the celebration.
Wandering the streets of Velez-Blanco on Saturday evening, I was conspicuous in my modern-day outfit – with so many of the townsfolk bedecked in colourful outfits. Velvet and satin gowns and ornate costumes were the norm – not my black dress.
Renaissance in Velez-Blanco – the story
The history is told in documents which include a letter from Aragon’s Admiral, Alfonso Puig de Cardona, in which he informs Murcian-born Pedro Fajardo that the queen will be making a visit to the area on her way to Valladolid – choosing the town’s imposing castle in which to spend the night.
In preparation for the reenactment, a sewing workshop was formed, overseen by Francisco Martinez, in which period costumes were designed and made for the residents of the town. More than 100 of the townsfolk dressed in their handmade historic outfits, wandered the streets of Velez-Blanco.
The tour began at the Castle and wandered past the Church of Mary Magdalene and the Cinco Cañas before arriving at the Chirch of Santiago in the main street. Awaiting them in the high street were a small number of stalls, demonstrating various medieval trades while a number of large trays of pork stew (Magra perhaps?) sizzled over wood fires.
Renaissance in Velez-Blanco – the feast!
Later that evening, more than 300 residents and visitors enjoyed a feast on trestle tables in the courtyard of the San Luis Convent, while being entertained by the musical group, Anonimo IV.
Councillor for Culture, Dietmar Roth, wished to acknowledge the effort of all those who made the event possible, while also expressing the town’s wish for a continued collaboration with Padules, including involvement in the Paz de Alpujarras at Padules.
He went on to explain that the feast did not include more recent products such as tomatoes or peppers – so often at the heart of Spanish dishes today – but the main feature was a sauce typical at the time of the reenactment.
The friendliness of the Velez-Blanco townsfolk was in abundance during the event, as I was pulled from group to group for more photos, kisses and welcomes as a new member of the community. God I love this town!