Moguer is determined not to forget its most illustrious resident, the poet Juan Ramón Jiménez, who was born here in 1881. As well as his mausoleum and the house in which he used to live, he is the subject of an unusual festival which takes place every year during the last weekend in February. This town in Huelva province owes part of its fame to this writer, who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1956 and found his birthplace to be a great source of inspiration.
More than half a century after his death, Moguer tries to replicate the town in which the author of ‘Platero y yo’ spent his youth with its ‘Feria de 1900’, which will be taking place this weekend.
During this event the town will recreate the ambience of the early 20th century, the years which inspired many of the works of Juan Ramón Jiménez, such as ‘Rimas’, ‘Arias tristes’, ‘Jardines lejanos’, ‘Elegías’ and the aforementioned ‘Platero y yo’. The Fair begins this evening (Friday) and continues until Sunday.
The historic town centre will recall those days of splendour, when this was a prosperous place thanks to its agriculture and the locally-produced wine. At that time, Moguer boasted a commercial port, a theatre, a bullring, several local newspapers and had an active focus on cultural and literary events.
As Moguer takes this step back in time this weekend, visitors should not be surprised to find the oldest part of town populated by characters from that era, complete with traditional costumes, including farm workers, traders and members of the aristocracy of the time.
Local bars, restaurants and shops also throw themselves wholeheartedly into this initative, doing their best to make Moguer appear as it did in the final years of the 19th and early years of the 20th centuries.
Other important elements of this fair include music and folklore, including some of the songs which were popular at that time. There will also be food which was traditional at the beginning of the last century, such as the ‘pucheros’, ‘buñuelos’ and ‘piñonates’ which will fill the town with delicious flavours and aromas throughout the weekend.
Among the culinary attractions of this event are the Tapas Routes and the Ley Seca de Cóctel, where local establishments will showcase the flavours of this region of Huelva.
The 1900 Fair kicks off with a period Fashion Parade, street theatre, live music and a children’s party.
Tomorrow, Saturday, there will be classic cars, flamenco shows, an unusual boxing match, exhibitions, a period costume competition and activities for children. In addition there will be a farmers’ market and a children’s fair, which will continue until Sunday.
The final day will be similar, but there will also be activities related to the Carnival celebrations which take place at this time of year. For example, Sunday is the Domingo de Piñatas, a popular festival from a century ago, including the traditional ‘giants’ and ‘big-heads’ which are an essential part of the festivities. The final event of the weekend will be a recreation of the ‘Quema del Judas’, one of the scenes which is described in ‘Platero y yo’, Juan Ramón Jiménez’s most famous work.
This ambitious cultural and leisure event will also pay tribute to Modernism, a style in which Juan Ramón Jiménez and his wife, Zenobia Camprubí, were influential. In the town you can visit the house in which the poet was born and the home the couple shared, as well as the mausoleum in which they are both buried.
The house inwhich Juan Ramón Jiménez was born, which is now a museum and the headquarters of the Foundation which bears his name, is an austere 19th century building which was restoredby the Jiménez family. The decision to turn it into a cultural centre was made in the year the poet was awarded the Nobel prize. Both Juan Ramón and Zenobia collaborated with the museum by donating their entire library and numerous personal effects. However, the museum did not open to the public until after the poet had died.
Visitors attending the Feria de 1900 should also take the opportunity to see some of Moguer’s interesting historical buildings, including the religious ones such as the Santa Clara Convent, which is a combination of Gothic, Mudejar and Renaissance styles. Inside the church you can see the marble and alabaster tombs of its founders.
From a later period but especially emblematic is the church of Nuestra Señora de la Granada, which is considered one of the finest examples of Andalusian Baroque. It was built in the 18th century over the ruins of a Mudejar mosque. The minaret is still standing. Because of its size and its features, this is one of the most important churches in Huelva province.
Other religious buildings in Moguer are the monastery of San Francisco and the church of San Sebastián. There are also some important remains dating back to thetime of Columbus and the discovery of America, and you can visit the shipyards where the caravel ‘La Niña’, one of the three ships which took part in the expedition, was built.