Manresa’s Medieval Fair : La Fira de l’Aixada

Manresa Town Hall during the anual medieval fayre la Fira de l'Aixada

Manresa Town Hall during the Fira de l’Aixada

Every year, at the end of February, Manresa celebrates La Fira de l’Aixada (festival of the mysterious light) which dates back to 1686 and sees the town step back in time to the 14th Century.

In addition to the medieval market, there is a busy schedule of theatrical performances, processions, music and dance commemorating events that took place in 1345.

La Colegiata Basílica de Santa María de la Aurora​, Manresa during the anual medieval fair

La Colegiata Basílica de Santa María de la Aurora​, Manresa

The history of La Fira de l’Aixada

During the 14th century Manresa suffered frequent droughts and the town council decided that the only solution was to build a channel to bring water from the nearby Llobregat River.

Bakers making bread during Manresa medieval fair la Fira de l'Aixada

Bakers, Manresa medieval fair

In 1339 King Pere III (Peter IV of Aragon) approved plans for the construction of the channel and agreed to reduce taxes in order to help the town fund the works which started the same year.

Unfortunately the Bishop of Vic, Bishop Galcerà Sacosta, opposed the construction of the channel and wouldn’t allow it to pass through the nearby town of Sallent which belonged to the church.

The Bishop excommunicated the town, trigerring a conflict which continued until his death in 1345.

Street performers at Manresa medieval fair

Street performers at Manresa medieval fair

Fortunately for the inhabitants of Manresa, the Bishop’s successor Miquel de Ricomà, was more understanding and agreed to let them complete the channel.

The miracle of the mysterious light of Montserrat

Local tradition attributes the ending of the dispute to a mysterious light which originated from the nearby mountain of Montserrat.

Apparently the Bishop changed his mind after a mysterious light from Montserrat shone through the stained glass windows of l’església del Carmen. Illuminating the interior of the church and causing the bells to chime before leaving the church and returning to Montserrat.

Flower seller selling garlands at Manresa medieval fair

Flower seller, Manresa

The miracle convinced the Bishop that God was on the side of the people of Manresa and he quickly decided to allow the channel to be built.

Unfortunately the bishop died shortly afterwards and it was his successor who formally approved the construction by signing a treaty with the town.

One of the smaller stages at the Manresa Medieval Far which takes place every February

One of the stages at La Fira de l’Aixada, Manresa

Check dates of this year’s medieval fayre here.

How to get there

Manresa is approximately 60km from Barcelona and it takes 45 minutes to get there by car. There’s a multi-storey carpark located immediately below the town centre.

To get to Manresa by public transport catch the R4 commuter train. The journey takes an hour and a quarter. The train station is a short walk from the city centre.

A group of actors in a play about witch hunts during Manreas medieval fair

Actors, Manresa Medieval Fair

Where to stay in Manresa

Urbi apartments are located in the medieval town centre. The apartments are air conditioned and include a well equipped kitchen plus washing machine. It’s worth paying a few euros extra for one of the superior apartments. There’s a small supermarket nearby where you can purchase food, wine etc.

Giants which are used in processiones in Manresa medieval fair

Giants, Manresa medieval fair

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