One of the biggest attractions of summer in Rioja is “The Kingdom of Nájera”, a magnificent spectacle that features, among others, texts by Lope de Vega and takes place in Plaza de Santa María, Nájera. The chronicles will be staged this year from July 19 to 22, and again on July 27 and 28, to mark the 50th anniversary.

In a performance involving the participation of 300 local actors, the show is based on texts written by a monk from Santa María la Real in around 1110 CE, following a request from the Monastery of San Zoilo, in Carrión de los Condes. They chronicle the history of the area and the town, from the first settlers to the downfall of the Kingdom of Nájera.

Almost every family in Nájera has at least one member who has participated to some degree in the historical re-enactment over the last 50 years.   If one thing defines this marvellous medieval event, it is the participation and commitment of the people of Nájera.

As the Friends of the Nájera Chronicles Association explained, the origin of this re-enactment dates back to a “summer’s evening in 1968” when “a group of friends read a script about the history of the Monastery of Santa María La Real.”

The ‘Chronicles’ were staged for the first time on August 14, 1969 and “while historical re-enactments are very popular nowadays, they were a complete novelty in Nájera at the time.” In fact, the Najéra Chronicle is the oldest historical representation of its kind in Spain.

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