The Renaissance Festival was first held in 1996. The idea behind the festival sprang from a project that was being carried out by Baix Ebre Regional Council. In an effort to design a coat of arms to appropriately represent our region, historical researchers gave us a small notebook dating back to 1544, which described and named the defence forces of the town of Tortosa in the times of King Charles V. A thorough description of the confraries, or confraternities, with their colours, the names of distinguished captains and towns in our region evoked the image of a powerful, organised town that was proud of its symbols.
Experiences in other towns clearly showed that recovering the past with entertaining activities had enabled tourism and the economy to develop. The rich and descriptive historical information provided in that document and the certainty that many other similar writings had also survived, gave birth to a project known today as the Renaissance Festival. The 16th century was regarded as a very important time in our history. The architectural complex of the Reials Col·legis and the literary work of Cristòfor Despuig bear witness to this. However, this period did not inspire any other cultural or entertainment events in Catalonia and very few in the rest of Spain.
The festival began back in May 1996 with very clear goals, which shaped its design and today continue to be a reference point: creating a high-quality entertainment and cultural product based on a strict historical reference point and a set of performances developed and produced largely by the organisation itself in an effort to promote tourism and cultural awareness in the town and reactivate the local economy with a spirit of teamwork and voluntary work.
Designed to be held in the historical centre of Tortosa, the aim of the festival is to both encourage the area's recovery and the sense of the town's importance as the capital of the extensive region that it has long presided over. Another essential aim was to revive a feeling of pride and belonging in this region through knowledge of the past.
One of the greatest challenges was to get local people involved in the project. This involvement is now one of the festival's most extraordinary triumphs. It is clearly this that makes the festival so compellingly real.
The Renaissance Festival has become the town's most important promotional event. It is original, given the era that it recalls, and a wonderful example of local involvement. The festival has embarked upon a path that will take us to new frontiers: linking up with other festivals and historical recreations to enhance our events and join forces on shared projects.
The project has thus gradually taken shape. It has grown out of the teamwork and involvement of an entire town, giving us unforgettable memories. Year after year, we are always surprised as we rediscover Tortosa under the transforming light of history.
We would like to thank everyone for their involvement and belief in the project, for their hard work and effort and, above all, for their enthusiasm, the fundamental building blocks of our festival. We appreciate your sharing our firm belief that our finest future can be found in going back to our roots.
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