As a result of its intense historical tradition, the reiterative superposition of cultures, its strategic location as a Mediterranean enclave and its transitional character as a border territory mid-way between the Meseta and Andalusia, the Murcia Region retains innumerable vestiges of the past, making it an ideal meeting-point where History and tradition have been instilled with new life and placed at the visitor's disposal. The abundant remains and archaeological sites include rock-paintings in cave-shelters dating back to the Iberian period, the splendour of Roman antiquity with its urbanistic refinement and penchant for the theatrical, Visigothic cities, Arab medinas, Christian castles, watch-towers, churches and temples, civil and military constructions...
This ample historical, artistic, architectural and cultural heritage can be contemplated and admired in a diversity of natural settings, in the actual locations where the monuments themselves were erected, or within the thematic spaces provided by the Region's complete network of museums. The Region of Murcia is thus likened to a rich printed fabric upon which History has been depicted for our contemplation.
Do you want to be inspired?
Music from around the world, art in every form, stories from ancient Rome, curiosities and legends, and even great treasures. All of these experiences await you in the museums of the Region of Murcia; prepare yourself to discover them.
The Salzillo Museum is the most important museum in the city of Murcia. Located in a space which combines both the modernity of a 20th Century building with the Barroque style of the 16th Century Iglesia de Jesús, it hosts the most complete and important collection from this wonderful Murcian sculptor. The Pasos de Semana Santa (scenes of the Passion of Christ) is just as important as La Última Cena (The Last Supper) or La Oración del Huerto (Christ's prayer in the garden), the famous 556 piece nativity scene entrusted to the artist by the marquis of Riquelme, as well as an interesting collection of original sketches which stand out among the exhibits.
The National Museum of Sub-Aquatic Archaeology, ARQUA, is home to the famous treasure found within the frigate Nuestra Señora de la Mercedes, which was extracted from the seabed by the treasure hunting team Odyssey. The booty consists of no more and no less than 570,000 18th and 19th Century gold and silver coins. Although they might not be considered quite so high profile, but equally as valuable, find many other treasures here. Why not go and discover these at your own pace so you can finish your visit with a trip to one of the restaurants found in the port or in the fishing quarter of Santa Lucía?
Found in Murcia's centrally located Avenida Alfonso X el Sabio, the emblematic Monasterio de Clausura de Santa Clara La Realpublicly displays the best collection of Islamic art in the region, and the rich historical and artistic heritage of the nuns of St. Clare. The pieces in the collection are of great interest as much for their antiquity, some deriving from the 11th Century, as for their variety of styles; they range from the Islamic period to the Baroque. The monastery is a haven of peace, silence and seclusion found right in the very heart of the city.
LIFE IN ROME
The Roman Theatre Museum is undoubtedly the most recognised symbol of the city of Cartagena. It is a fascinating architectural complex designed by Rafael Moneo within which each room is more spectacular than the last. It combines the Pascual Riquelme Palace, the Santa Maria la Vieja Church and, as you reach the final corridor and come to the most impressive stop of the tour, the Roman Theatre. Did you know? The Carthago Nova theatre, built by Emperor Augusto in the first Century BC, was in fact only discovered in 1990.
In the Barranda Museum of Ethnic Music you can find around 1,000 musical instruments of all periods and continents. Despite being located in the Caravacan village of Barranda which has less than 900 inhabitants, and built on the remains of a 19th Century flour mill, this museum would be a delight to any capital city worldwide.
Within Don Pepe Marsilla House Museum in Bullas you will find that time has frozen still to the year 1900. The frescoes, trompe l'oeil, and other modernist features of the residential wing compete to be just as spectacular as the working wing and winery. Visit the museum as part of the Bullas wine tour, or, if you prefer to take your time and visit independently, pre book a visit directly with the Wine Museum.
CRAFTMANSHIP AND EMBROIDERY
Fancy an alternative way of experiencing the magic of the Holy Week? Get to know the embroidery museums of the Azul, Blanco, Encarnado and Morado brotherhoods first hand and all year round,the works of art that Lorca's embroiderers create with their bare hands, and relive the greatest moments of this incredible celebration through the brotherhoods' audio visuals.
A UNIVERSAL ARTIST
In Blanca, in the heart of Ricote Valley, find the Pedro Cano Museum home to a collection of works from this brilliant Murcian artist. The space, in which a total of 2000 drawings are exhibited, will undoubtedly pleasantly surprise you, an unexpected delight for lovers of beauty, peace and equality.
The Museo de la Santa y Vera Cruz (The Holy True Cross Museum) is located inside the Caravaca's Basilica and is home to invaluable metal work and paintings, such as 16th Century oil works. It also contains original pieces from Hernando de los Llanos, a scholar of Leonardo de Vinci and Rafael Tegeo, and undoubtedly one of the best portrait painters of the 19th Century. The museum also boasts a range of gold and silver-smith work such as the Custodia-Ostensorio de la Cruz and the Casulla de Chirimos, as well as visits to its dungeon!
An emblem of the area of Mula, La Casa Pintada, a beautiful palacial home constructed in the year 1770, is nowadays referred to as the Centro de Interpretación del Arte Contemporáneo (Centre of Interpretation and Contemporary Art) in which more than 150 pieces, both sculptures and paintings from the famous local artist Cristóbal Gabarrón, are displayed. The building has a typical Spanish Levante style with a square shaped floor plan based over 3 storeys, a central tower, and a highly recommendable winery.
A trip to Murcia is incomplete without a visit to at least one of these monuments. Find curiosities and secrets hidden within which will no doubt leave you with a lasting impression of our region. After all, you cannot come to Murcia without learning a bit about our history!
Not only is it the most important church in all of Murcia, the cathedral is also one of the most recognised symbols of the region. Steeped in more than 600 years of history and constructed on the site of the oldest mosque in the city, the cathedral is composed of a range of architectural styles, varying from Gothic, to Renaissance, to the perhaps grander Baroque. Explore the museum, clime the tower, contemplate its main façade and visit the Velez and Junterón chapels. Insider tip: the heart of King Alfonso X El Sabio is kept in an urn on the Altar Mayor.
Acting as a key meeting point for Murcia social life since the 19th Century, a visit to this emblematic building set in the heart of Murcia is a delight for lovers of elegance. Found slap bang in the middle of Calle Trapería, nowadays it has been converted into a dynamic centre for culture and coexistence. You cannot miss the dance hall inspired by the style of Luis XV.
THE ROMAN THEATRE
Undoubtedly the most recognised symbol of Cartagena, find the Roman Theatre at the last stop of the fantastic museum tour. The building was designed by the architect Rafael Moneo and combines the Pascual Riquelme palace and the old cathedral of Santa María. The Carthago Nova Theatre, constructed for Emperor Augusto in the 1st Century AC, has a capacity of 6,000 spectators, and was in fact only discovered by chance in 1987.
BARRIO DEL FORO ROMANO
If you love a trip back in time, a chance to relive history and to put yourself in the shoes of previous successors, you will be a child at play in the Foro Romano (Roman Forum) of the ancient Carthago Nova theatre. It is an absolute privilege to be able to visit this site which remained hidden underground for more than 20 centuries; take note of the hot spring complex and the main atrium. If you pay a visit with all the family, you must stay for an in-house performance.
THE FORTRESS OF THE SUN
This impressive medieval castle is considered to be the oldest landmark in Lorca. The venue, which housed Muslims, Christians and Jews for centuries, is now a themed space. In its Jewish quarter take the opportunity to visit the only synagogue in Spain which was not subsequently converted into a Church and see its remains as it stands today, almost untouched since the Jews of the 15th Century used it to pray.
EX COLLEGIATE CHURCH OF SAN PATRICIO
This Renaissance-style building with a cathedral-like appearance is without a doubt the most important ecclesiastic space in all of Lorca. It is the only church under the patronage of San Patricio, in remembrance of the victory against the Muslims in the Battle of Alporchones which took place the day of the festivity of this saint. It is an essential part of Lorca's heritage, known for its architectural beauty and historical significance. If you want to know more about its Ex-collegiate status, delve into its history.
BASILICA OF CARAVACA
Undoubtedly this is the heart of Caravaca and the core of a fortress which once belonged to the Order of the Temple and later to that of Santiago. Protected by a wall flanked with 14 turrets of distinct form and size, the basilica is home to the Santísima y Vera Cruz, a revered 18th Century relic within which fragments from the Cross upon which Christ died are safeguarded.
This castle, strong>declared a National Monument and ordered to be built in 1461 by the Marquis of Villena upon an old Muslim fortification, is today an example of restoration and is now a popular cultural site. To get there simply cross the Camino del Subidor, a natural viewpoint which will reward you with one of the most amazing panoramic views of the region. The visit will bring you to the dungeons, the military room, the governor's room, the supplies room, the parade ground, the cistern, the Maestre's tower and the ruins of an old flour mill.
VIRGEN DE LA ESPERANZA
The sanctuary of the Virgen de la Esperanza of Calasparra is unusual in that it is located in the inside of a cave, in a setting of extraordinary natural beauty along the River Segura. The inside of the 17th Century temple, which is carved out of stone, is home to two images of the Virgen de la Esperanza known as La Pequeñica, found by a shepherd in one of the caves, and La Grande. It is a popular site with visitors due to its peace, calm and tranquillity.
The castle is one of the most important points in Moratalla's urban landscape. The original Islamic structure was erected in the 9th Century on the site of Neolithic and Iberian remains, constituting a crucial site in the defense of Al-Andalus. In the 15th Century the Order of Santiago reconstructed it. Nowadays, and between its 6 towers, the gothic-style Torre del Homenaje stands out as well as its military art, where including in its great room, the cistern and arms room. Guided tours of the inside of the castle are available.
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