“History is a mighty dramos, enacted upon the theatre of times, with suns for lamps and eternity for a background” Thomas Carlyle
This week we thought we’d share a photo blog with you of the amazing Medieval Fair at Silves. The ancient city of Silves comes alive in August with the sounds and sights of the Middle Ages; and is a fantastic opportunity to shoot some great images, and wander the streets enjoying the spectacle.
The fair runs from the 9th to the 15th August from 1800 – 0100 hours; and is free entry for all. Silves is the perfect backdrop for this fair, the city stands proudly on a hill, with an origin dating back to 1,000BC; with a rich Roman and Moorish history. It was still referred to as the “Kingdom of the Algarve” in the 19th century, and retains many historic buildings, including the ancient castle ruins and 15th century Roman bridge.
The fair is well laid out, with a Medieval ‘town’ set out for you to wander round. It can initially be quite disconcerting to find yourself walking past people dressed in Medieval cosutme, brandishing spears and practising their sword fighting! You can even hire your own costume should you wish to join in the fun!
Some of the instruments of torture and effects are very amusing – this one reminded me of Baldrick’s mouse catcher in Blackadder!
There are also some live animals used in displays on show as well:
The main attraction occurs inside a tented arena; and the ‘actors’ certainly engage fully in their roles, and are very authentic:
On from the main arena are a maze of cobbled streets for you to explore, brimming with market stalls. Many of the vendors are in traditional costume, and most are extremely happy to pose for you:
The stalls are many and varied, selling food, crafts, jewellery, clothes and Moroccan style housewares:
The streets do get very busy, however it feels to be a very safe place, with families and children and couples of all ages enjoying themselves. There are also many stalls selling food and drink, alongside cafes and restaurants which all get very busy!
As night draws in the sights and smells only seem to increase their vibrancy, with jousting and street drama alongside lanterns and pig roasts. At every turn there is another sight to enjoy, another market stall to linger over, and more fabulous costumes and characters to watch go by.
Some of the stalls also have craftsmen and women at work, giving a fantastic insight into what times gone by would have been like for local people, and how hard many people had to work at their chosen trade:
After hours of enjoyable wandering, we headed back to the square, with one last look at the village area, and a final thought of whether we could in fact fit in a quick sword fight?
And then a walk back across the old bridge, with its fantastic view of the church and old castle, and a promise to return soon before the fair closes for another year – I think we are going back tonight!