Every year, on the first Tuesday of August, the city of Plasencia turns into a huge market. People from Plasencia participate in the Martes Mayor (Major Tuesday) a traditional market favored by locals and visitors, not only because of the variety of products that are offered on the stands but also, because of the festive atmosphere. In fact, the event has been named Fiesta de Interés Turístico Regional (Fiesta of Regional Tourist Interest). The Martes Mayor (Major Tuesday) is a once a year grand celebration of the weekly Tuesday markets that are held in Plansencia, from the time of its foundation in late XII Century. And historically it has been a weekly get together for people from the districts in Northern Extremadura.
On the first Tuesday of the month of August, every year, the narrow streets of monumental zone of this medieval town will host more than 200 stands, disseminated through the whole area in plazas, alleys and ways. They offer a great variety of handicrafts, dress accessories, crocks, pots and pans and small furniture. As well as, for the children, they will enjoy a tiny amusement park with crafted wooden attractions or the traditional ceramic birds, filled with water, that sing and fill the ambient with a music that is already traditional in these typical markets.
Drummers and traditional music groups march along the streets of Plasencia creating a festive atmosphere, which actually starts on Monday night, when the first clients scout the old streets to see what is being offered. A night, when it is already traditional that the Town House offers a concert, for everybody, at the Plaza Mayor, where you can listen to great artists such as Dulce Pontes, under a summer night full of beautiful stars. But only on the morning, on Tuesday, is when the plaza fills with vegetables, fruits, breads and cakes, typical cold cuts upon stands that are dressed specially for the occasion with new fabrics, plants and a number of typical decorations. In addition, the attendants dress up in traditional attire and might also handle traditional objects such as the old Weights and Balances that receive a lot of attention from the visitors. The plaza stands compete in a special contest of fruits and vegetables and the balconies of the building at the plaza are also decorated for the event. The epicenter of the fiesta, which is from the Plaza Mayor to the monumental zone, can be easily surveyed, has a magnificent offer of very varied and generally high quality goods. The craftsmen that sell their own products must be accredited with an identification that assures that they are the manufacturers of the treasures that are being offered.
Plasencia is a Spanish city located in Northern Extremadura, founded by Castilian King Alphonse VIII in 1186. Its original motto is to “Please God and Men”. People lived in this region, on the banks of river Jerte, prior to the founding of the city, dating back to antiquity, but King Alphonse created a charted city with great historical influence. In the middle ages it was know as a location with varied and important cultural diversity, which marked important events in the region and the whole of Spain.
Much more than a regular tuesday
The fiesta of the Martes Mayor (Major Tuesday) is now being held for more than five decades and has been instrumental for the creation of a number of collateral activities such as the pre-event Concert, with well-known artists. Also, a contest of Drummers, sporting events and an Institutional event are now traditional during the Martes Mayor. During the latter city authorities highlight commonalities and the relationship between Plasencia and the other places in the North of Extremadura. Also, significant historical events are remembered.
The Martes Mayor and additional plans
To visit Plasencia during the Martes Mayor is not only a visit to this historical market, but also entails the visit to this magnificent medieval walled city. Its is an encounter with history, with the traditional crafts of the region and also, the opportunity to meet the surrounding towns, such as Hervás, the district of Jerte River Valley, Granadilla and Cápara. Or you might want to spend your time at one of the natural river ponds or swimming pools of the North of Extremadura. Because of the closeness of the dates, you might want to combine the Martes Mayor with a Descent of the river Alagón. The Fiesta of the Martes Mayor is something that unites Plasencia with the neighboring townships, because of a common past. It is a tradition, much greater than the opportunity offered to visitors, based on the weekly market, which is commercial interchange but also, and most importantly a generator of life and friendship.
Event: Martes Mayor (Major Tuesday)
Place: City of Plasencia, in the province of Cáceres, District of the Valle de Jerte, North of Extremadura, Spain
Date: First Tuesday in the month of August
Google GPD Coordinates 40.041096, -6.083686
Original article by Marian Castillo
Translated by Susana Windt