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The Three Cultures Festival of Frigiliana

Frigiliana’s three cultures festival (las tres culturas) is an event that engulfs the village each year, celebrating the cultures that have inhabited the region over the centuries and that have left their mark in so much of what you see in this part of Spain today.

(The 2010 festival begins on the 22th of August and continues for four days ending on the 25th.)

At the end of August each year since 2006 thousands of people have descended on this pretty, white walled village in an open air festival encompassing food, music and traditions reflecting different aspects of what the Christian, Arabic and Sephardic cultures have brought to the village. Restaurants create special menus for the event, musicians playing exotic music roam the streets and costumed street theatre performers put on shows to entertain the masses. The normally sleepy streets of Frigiliana come alive with a buzz of activity.

The majority of the festival revolves around the centre of the village which is the location of the street market and official organisers marquee. Here you’ll find a wealth of food stalls offering all manner of things to try, some of which you’ll recognize although some foods that you won’t. The market tends to be a little bit alternative as you may expect. Just across from the street market area, in the Plaza de las Tres Culturas, is a stage erected for larger scale musical performances with seats provided and plenty of room for those not lucky enough to get one. This area also has a small market although it’s mainly made up of food and drink stalls. Without doubt though the most popular activity during the three cultures festival is the tapa route that will lead you all over the village to the various bars and taverns. If you drop by the official marquee in the towns centre before you begin you can pick up a tapa route card with a little map showing you all the bars taking part in the route. As you go from bar to bar get your card stamped and if you really put the work in on your tapa route adventure you can collect a free t-shirt at the end of the night from the organisers marquee.

Another nice thing to see if you visit the three cultures festival in Frigiliana is the projector show at the village church, the church of San Antonio de Padua. The white walled church offers the perfect canvas for a revolving picture display of images portraying the three cultures that the festival is celebrating and never fails to draw a crowd of both locals and visitors.

If you’re staying in Nerja or the surrounding area during the three cultures festival you really should take an evening to go and see for yourself what’s happening. This years program is available in English from the official site here and a bus service is available from the bus station in Nerja at a cost of €2 return.

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