2 February 2014
Published on 2 February 2014 by Francine Healy
Having wrote a short piece earlier in the week advertising the Medieval Market in Orihuela, it only seemed right to go along and see the market for myself, plus it was also a great opportunity for my husband to take photographs of what is billed as the largest medieval market in Spain. As we did not fancy driving into the city, with the headache of locating a parking space, we drove to the outskirts of Orihuela and parked in the car park which has amazing views of the Orihuela Palm Grove located in the neighborhood of San Antón. Having brought our dog with us, we followed the Monte de San Miguel sendero into Orihuela. If you like walking then you will enjoy this walk, it is a short and easy walk with signposts to guide the route. As we got closer to the town of Orihuela we could hear medieval music emanating from the town below. We descended down the windy road from the Diocesan Seminary of San Miguel and as soon as we walked onto the medieval street it felt like we had stepped back in time.
Orihuela medieval market takes place in the narrow streets of its historic centre. As many of the buildings do in fact date back from the Middle Ages, this added an even more authentic feel to the market. Here, the streets and pavements were laced with hay, and vendors dressed in traditional costume sold their wares from stalls lined on either side of the street.
The most enchanting part of the walk through the market was the different smells coming from the food stalls. With each step we took we were confronted with the smells of homemade bread to cakes to cheese. The Arab presence in Medieval Spain was strong at the market, with their distinctive tents and turbaned vendors selling kebabs, honey-drenched pastries, and herbs and spices. The food cooking on the grills was to die for too! We saw a whole pig being roasted on a spit and huge circular grills full of different meats and sausages. Even our dogs’ mouth was watering.
We stopped for a rest in a small park, and were immediately entertained by a wandering troupe of musicians and entertainers on stilts and belly dancers making their way through the crowd. I had never seen anything like that before. There was so much to take in it was truly a feast for the eyes. Watching the musicians and entertainers was fantastic and added to the already feel and atmosphere of being in the Medieval times. As we strolled through the park we saw a stall with magnificent birds of prey sitting peacefully on their perches, a photographers dream!
We had a great morning wandering through the medieval streets of Orihuela. We made our way back to the car eating cotton candy and praising our dog for not escaping from her leash and stealing the sausages from the grill. We will most definitely be visiting again next year. A real experience!