|Zahara de la Sierra|
Our trip coincided with the religious festival of Corpus Christi. Zahara's celebrations, which originated in the 15th century, are famed throughout Spain and have been declared a Fiesta de Interés Turístico Nacional. The locals get up early to harvest esparto grass, rushes and oleander from the surrounding countryside, and use them to line the narrow streets and alleyways, which are then decorated with flowers, and embroidered sheets are hung from the first-floor windows.
|Church of Santa Maria de la Mesa|
|Streets lined with greenery|
|A little shrine in someone's doorway|
|The procession of Corpus Christi|
|View of Zahara from the castle|
|Embalse de Zahara, a man-made reservoir|
|The restored remains of the castle|
We returned to the square in time for the end of the procession, as it passed back into the church to be joined by children taking their first communion, all dressed in white like miniature brides.
|Looking down on the church and the square|
In the afternoon there was live music and dancing in the town square, and the various bars and restaurants were doing a roaring trade. I was impressed by the fact that they didn't jack up the prices (just 1€ for a beer) and we enjoyed a very respectable three-course menú del día for 10€ at the Hotel Arco de la Villa, in a table by the window overlooking the lake.
All in all, Corpus Christi in Zahara a very friendly, intimate little festival, not at all solemn and not overrun with tourists, and the village is definitely worth a visit at any time of year.