Murcia is both the name of an autonomous region in the southeast corner of Spain and the city, which is its capital. It has fewer tourists than the neighbouring province of Alicante, although it has an equally long history. It is hotter and drier than its neighbours, with the orchards and farms using the ancient Moorish irrigation systems.
The region of Murcia is situated in the southeast of Spain, on the coast between Andalusia and the Valencian Community (Alicante). Inland, it borders on Castile-La Mancha. The city of Murcia is located on the Segura River in the east of the region, and it can be reached by train from Madrid. The nearest airport is Alicante.
The history of Murcia goes back before the Romans, since the Carthaginians set up a trading post at what is today Cartagena. After the Roman conquest, the area saw little development. It was with the Moorish conquest that the irrigation systems on which the region still depends were developed. Castile conquered the region; then an independent kingdom, in 1243. It became an autonomous region in 1982.
The city of Murcia was founded by the Moors in 831: After the Castilian conquest, it was resettled with immigrants from Catalonia and Provence. The current city largely stems from the 18th century, when an upswing in the silk industry made construction of new churches possible.
The city of Murcia is the seventh most populous in Spain; The main industries are agriculture and tourism. The city cathedral was constructed between 1394 and 1465. It is famous for its bell tower, which was completed only in 1792 and mixes the Castilian Gothic style of the cathedral with Renaissance, Baroque and neoclassical styles. Today the old town, which includes the former Jewish quarter, is largely a pedestrian area.
The region of Murcia has less tourists than neighbouring Alicante, although it has an equal amount of beaches. It has around 300 sunny days per year, with an average temperature of about 70 degrees Fahrenheit; The region is dry and has little rainfall. The considerable agricultural products; mainly fruit, wine, and olives, for export to the rest of Europe; depend on the old Moorish irrigation systems. Apart from the city of Murcia, there are several historic and cultural sights around the region; The city of Cartagena was the site of the original Carthaginian settlement. The city of Caravaca de la Cruz is a sacred place to the Catholic church, as it is home to what is said to be a piece of the Holy Cross.
Events in Murcia
In Spain, the city of Murcia is famous for its Holy Week (Easter) procession through the city, which portrays the events leading up to the crucifixion of Christ. During the procession, life-sized sculptures from the 18th century are used to recreate the events, and festival participants lay flowers and light candles at stations representing these events. On the first Tuesday after Easter, the city celebrates with the Bando de la Huerta, a spring fiesta, and the following Saturday inhabitants fill the streets for the Entierro de la Sardina (Burial of the Sardine) parade and festivities. Similar events are held in other towns around the province, those in Lorca and Cartagena having been declared of “international tourist interest” by the Spanish government.