Medieval Besalu (end of august)
Historical recreation of everyday life in medieval Besalu.
The Ratafia Fair (begining of september)
Yearly market of Catalonia's most exquisit products
Jewish Besalú (begining of march)
Historical recreation of the cities Jewish roots and traditions.
LiberisLiber (begining of october)
Book fair of independent editorials.
Besalu, one of the best preserved medieval cities in Europe, is a place where the cosmopolitan magic of an age-old city can be experienced, in a county where scholars, doctors, merchants, authors, comedians and minstrels would arrive in search of the court’s esteem. It is here where, in 1210, a body of verses was loosely translated from a song by Ramon Vidal of Besalú (1196 – 1252), a romantic jewish minstrel, author of the rules of Romantic poetry – the “Rasós de trobar”.
Besalu is much more than a monumental town. The town must be lived, felt and heard through its sounds. The flow of its rivers, the rustle of its trees, the echoes in its narrow streets, the harmonies coming from the famous pub ‘Taverna del Seny’, where its juicy veals are grilled throughout the day; even the sounds of its various yearly music festivals, like the traditional Sardanas during the month of August. The Sardana, a traditional catalan dance, still yet rhythmical that triggers a bond among its dancers, and a soothing calm among its spectators. It was long ago, in the 13th century, that Ramón Vidal had preached for audiences not to sign along his harmonies but rather to quietly internalize the meaning of its verses. This applied to:
“all who wish to listen to minstrel songs or to compose their own,be they Jews, christians, saracens, emperors, princes, kings, dukes, counts, nobles, knights, clerics or villains “;
Besalu can also teach us unimaginable things, as does the universe of miniatures enclosed in the Museum of Miniatures and Microminiatures. See a caravan of camels inside a needle’s eye, a collection of jewels inside an apple seed or the Eiffel tower standing on top of a salt grain.
We mustn’t forget to mention either the town’s various cultural and social activities beginning in march with the fair ‘Besalu – the Jewish town’, a historic recreation of Besalu’s daily life amongst Besalu’s medieval Jewish community. The town’s streets travel back in time to the height of the Middle ages, offering live Sephardi music, conferences, guided visits and traditional jewish gastronomy. An event unique in the whole of Europe and one worth attending.
Yet It is only on July and throughout September that Besalu achieves it’s highest cultural intensity with activities such as ‘Besalú Medieval’ in early september. During these weeks, the city goes one thousand years back becoming the historic scenario taking its visitors back to the times of the ancient County of Besalu. It’s streets, people, shops, landmarks, riverbanks, city-walls, every corner in every square will take you back to the grand medieval capital, decorated with banners, fireworks, parades, music and poetry recitals; it is during those weeks and their libertinism that you’ll probably find two ladies fighting over the love of a knight, searching for an innocent soul to help them resolve their ‘desires and uncertainties’, another of Ramon Vidal’s stories from ancient Besalu.