Moors & Christians

Alcoy’s Moors and Christians festival is an unforgettable experience for the whole family. Declared an International Tourist Interest since 1980 the festival celebrates the Christians victory over the Arab Moor’s in 1276.

During the Moorish rule of Spain Alcoy stood on the border of the Muslim-held territories. There were frequent skirmishes between the two factions until, on 23 April 1276, the Arab troops of Al-Azraq attempted to storm the town. According to legend, Saint George appeared during the battle and, thanks to his intervention, the Christian army won the day, forcing the Muslims to retreat and never to return. In recognition of his timely intercession, the townsfolk of Alcoy made him their patron saint and promised to hold a festival in his honour each year.

On April 22, 23 and 24, Alcoy becomes a veritable explosion of joy, with thousands of white pennants with the cross of Saint George and many other green flags with the Islamic crescent moon decorate the city. Scenes, pageants and entries are held, representing the capture of the castle by the Moors and how the Christians recaptured it.

The din of drums, trumpets, volleys of muskets in the thick of battle, the smell of gunpowder… impressive!

The first day hosts the two Entrances, with the Christian groups entering in the morning and the Moorish ones in the afternoon. The richness and colour of the costumes, the music, the colourful standards and the twirls performed by the corporals create a magical mood.

The second day, the 23rd, which is Saint George’s Day, is a day of devotion in the chapel, in the procession with the relic, the figure of San Jordiet, a child under the age of eight dressed as a Roman soldier.

On the 24th, the Day of the Alardo (mock battle), a series of skirmishes take place, in which muskets and blunderbusses, suits of armour and Moorish capes give shape to a battle which has been won by Christians yearly since 1276. Once calm has returned, San Jordiet appears, acclaimed by the multitude, putting an end to the festivities until the following year.