The past and present glory of Murcia
Many tourists flying to San Javier opt to Murcia. Driving along the motorway towards the city it is easy to see, that the city is ensconced in a fertile valley with a juxtaposition of proud mountain ranges. The city was founded by the Moors and settlement in the area can be credited to the thriving greenery created by the river Segura. While the valley has been inhabited for almost 2000 years, the foundation of the capital city was not laid until 1831.
The Arab ruler of Cordoba commissioned a walled settlement on the banks of Segura; the township was later turned into the Caliphate of Murcia. The province of Mursiya quickly rose to prominence as a commercial center till its inclusion in the Kingdom of Castile.
Even today, remnants of the Moorish rulers grace the city’s landscape; most prominently among them are the Almunia Real which served as the second royal residence and the artifacts housed in the Santa Clara Museum. It is also possible to chance upon vestiges of the Moorish wall in the old quarter of Murcia.
The old town is still located on the banks of the Segura and has retained its historical streets named after the guilds that worked there. Make sure to visit the tourist office to gather information about Murcia and the most important places to visit in the historical center. For instance, you can find the Trapería (the street of the drapers), the Platería (street of the silversmiths and even the Vidrieros (street of the glaziers) while in the area.
The Murcian Baroque and religious architecture still dominate the city’s skyline with the Church of Merced built over the 16th and 18th centuries; the Santo Domingo, the Santa Ana Convent Church and the churches of San Nicolas and san Miguel being the foremost examples of Christian religious architecture in the city.
19th century buildings like the City Hall, the casino and the Roman Theater are also masterpieces in their own right. They seamlessly combine the Neoclassical facades with the Moorish touch lent by the opulent interior courtyards.
For a stunningly picturesque view of Murcia, head over to the Santa Catalina or San Pedro and the areas surrounding the Plaza de las Flores. Also, take the time out to end your tour of the city in the gorgeous Paseo del Malecón. This is a stretch of land which joins the urban area with the irrigated green lands of the region.