Cieza is the entrance to the North of the Region of Murcia. Full of crossroads, it keeps a rich historical legacy inherited from different cultures that have occupied its territory since the antiquity. Beautiful landscapes, festivities, cave paintings, routes, museums, gastronomy and adventure turn Cieza into a destination for all ages.
The Sima de la Serreta Cave is one of the most peculiar prehistoric sites of the Region and a visit not to be missed for every tourist who comes around this area. It opens to the impressing Almadenes Canyon with walls that at some points reach 303 ft of height over the river. This incredible cave was a Neolithic habitat, a cave painting sanctuary and a Late Roman shelter. Its walls conserve more than 50 paintings that are considered Heritage of Humanity for its good state of conservation and their peculiar pictorial treatment.
It's totally worthwhile following the trace that Islamic people left in Cieza. The trail will carry you to a hill where, as in a dream, one of the most emblematic and significant places of the Andalusian culture stands: the former Islamic settlement of Medina Siyâsa. This was one of the most significant placements of the Occidental Islam from the 11th to 13th century, and nowadays it's one of the most important references to know how the daily routine was like in Al-Ándalus. This visit is the perfect complement to the Medina Siyâsa Museum, where you'll find two life-size reproductions of their houses.
KINGDOM OF FLOWERS
Spring bursts in Cieza with the Flowering Period, a unique spectacle in which fruit trees spread their colour and scent to the countryside. You'll fall for the white and pinkish mantles of this landscape, no matter you go on foot, by car or by bike. During this season there are different activities programmed in order to experiment this phenomenon, such as hiking and photographic routes, conferences, guided tours and river rafting.
BRAVE WATER RIVER
One of the most exciting ways of getting in touch with the natural richness of the landscapes in Cieza is going rafting. In this area, the Segura River has clear and living waters, perfect for adventure lovers. The descent starts in Jardín del Arenal, near the town centre. From there, guided by expert instructors, rafts descend with the current. These entertaining and diverse descents are for all ages, families and friends.
IT'S ALL ABOUT PARTIES!
Cieza is famous for its vibrant festive calendar. Holy Week, declared event of National Tourist Interest stands out for its colourful parades and for the performance of the Auto del Prendimiento (Play of the Arrest). Festivities of the Escudo or "La Invasión", which take place during April, are a real play of Moors and Christians, which tell the story of the Moroccan victory. You'll be able to enjoy parades, medieval markets and other activities. However, it's in August when most festivities take place, like San Bartolomé, with concerts, parades and theatre plays, the International Festival of Folklore in Segura and the Fiesta del Lanzamiento de Hueso de Oliva, in which hundreds of villagers and visitants have a great time near of the olive-stone cemetery.
FOR CULTURE LOVERS
Don't forget to stop and visit some of the museums of the city. The first one is the Medina Siyâsa Museum, one of the bests of its kind. You'll be astonished by the life-size replica of two houses in this former Islamic settlement. The Teodoro Mill, located at the outskirts, is one of those emblematic museums where you'll find an interesting machinery collection and tools used in the mills at those times. The Esparto Museum is another interesting place to visit, especially if you want to learn more about this material and the handicraft processes to create it. And finally, the Casa Museo de la Semana Santa (House Museum of Holy Week) and Museo del Centro de Folklore (Folklore Centre Museum).
Cieza is the perfect destination for the devotes of recipes made with local products. Vegetables from Cieza, grown in its lands and orchards, are absolutely delicious for green lovers. Rice and rabbit meat, snails, "gachasmigas" (flour, water, olive oil and salt porridge with garlic and meat) and Cieza stew (beans, potatoes, chards and codfish) are also part of the gastronomic roots of this area. Remember: whatever you do, don't miss the "trenza ciezana" (puff pastry filled with peach and dried fruits), "tortas de pan dormido" (bread made with flour, milk, sugar and orange juice) and orange rolls. A special place in this selection is for the legendary peach from Cieza, not to mention the Mollar olive, one of the traditional products of the Region of Murcia.
LA ATALAYA MOUNTAIN
This mountain deserves a special place on the list due to its rich, natural and historical values. In La Atalaya you'll find the former Islamic settlement and the castle that defended it in the 11th century. This natural surrounding is one of the identity marks of the municipality and a real interesting space for hiking lovers and out-door activities. It hosts the Hermitage of la Virgen del Buen Suceso, saint patron of Cieza, from where you'll be able to enjoy one of the best sights of the valley.
THE PATH TO THE TREE HERMITAGES
If you're a down-to-earth person, here you have a perfect place to start walking. The Three Hermitage route, created during the Jubilee Year of the municipality, goes along fairy-tail landscapes, having three sacred places very loved by people from Cieza. It has as points of reference: the hermitages of San Bartolomé, of the Virgin of the Buen Suceso and of the Saint Christ. The itinerary is suitable for the laziest, since it's easily finished in less than two hours walking calmly.
AT THE SUN GATE
Located next to the Hermitage of San Bartolomé, you'll find the historical site of Balcón del Muro (Balcony of the Wall). Composed of the current wall and the old fortress of the 15th century, this place witnessed the bloody incursion leaded by Abu-l-Hassan over Cieza, and his granadine troops on April 6th, 1477. From that moment, when the village was sacked and the neighbours were caught, appeared the lemma of the shield of the locality: "We were killed for crossing the bridge". It's the heart of the primitive city and an open window to nature; we recommend you to visit this place and stare at an unforgettable sunset, and at one of the best views of the water meadow and the Segura River.