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For the municipality in the Philippines, see Murcia, Negros Occidental.

Murcia (37°59′ N 1°8′ W) is a city in southeastern Spain, on the river Segura , the capital of the Autonomous Community of Murcia. Population: 398,815 (2004); 558,000 including the metropolitan area (urban area plus satellite towns), ranking as the 11th-largest metropolitan area of Spain. Since 2003 the mayor is Miguel Ángel Cámara Botía (PP).

Murcia is built nearly in the centre of a low-lying fertile plain, known as the huerta or market garden of Murcia, which includes the valleys of the Segura and its right-hand tributary the Guadalentín (Wadalentin) or river Sangonera, and is surrounded by mountains. Despite the proximity of the sea, the climate is subject to great variations, the summer heat being severe, while frosts are occasionally experienced in the capital during the winter. Precipitation in Murcia is scarce with less than 200 mm being registered in the recently terminated hydrological year 2004-2005 (Oct-Sept.)

Murcia San Javier Airport (MJV) is located on the edge of the Mar Menor close to the towns of San Javier and Santiago de la Rivera, 45 kilometres miles south east of Murcia(30 minutes by car.)



Murcia was founded with the name of Medinat Mursiya in 825 AD by Abd ar-Rahman II, emir of Al-Andalus. The Arabs, taking advantage of the course of the Segura river, created a complex network of irrigation channels, that made the town prosperous, and is the predecessor of the modern irrigation system. The Arab traveller Muhammad al-Idrisi described it in the 12th century as populous and strongly fortified. After the fall of the caliphate of Cordova it passed successively under the rule of Almería, Toledo and Seville. In 1172 it was taken by the Almohades, and from 1223 to 1243 it became the capital of an independent kingdom.

The Castilians, led by King Alfonso X, took it at the end of this period, when large numbers of immigrants from north-eastern Spain and Provence settled in the town; Catalan names are still not uncommon. In 1296 Murcia and its region were transferred to the Kingdom of Aragon, but in 1304, in virtue of the Treaty of Torrellas it was finally incorporated into Castile.

Murcia flourished in the 18th century, mainly due to the boom of the silk industry. From this period are many of its churchs and monuments.

The town and its surroundings suffered much from floods in 1651, 1879 and 1907, though the construction of a contention wall or Malecon did much to keep the Segura within its own channel. Murcia is capital of the province of Murcia since 1838, and capital of the Autonomous Community since its creation in 1982.

Sights and Monuments

Murcia - Cathedral
Murcia - Cathedral

The Cathedral was built between 1394 and 1465 in Castilian Gothic style. Its tower, only completed in 1792, shows a mixture of styles: the first two storeys were built in Renaissance style (1521-1546), the third one is Baroque, and the bell pavillion has Rococo and Neoclassical influences. The main façade (1736-1754) is considered a masterpiece of the Spanish Baroque.

Other noteworthy buildings in the square in front of the Cathedral (Plaza Cardenal Belluga) are the colourful Bishops palace (18th century) and a controversial extension to the town hall, by Rafael Moneo.

The Glorieta, next to the Segura river, has been traditionally the center of the town. This a pleasant landscaped square, built in the 18th-century. The Ayuntamiento (Town Hall) is located here.

The pedestrian area covers most of the old town, centered around Platería and Trapería streets. Trapería goes from the Cathedral to the Plaza de Santo Domingo, the former market square. In Trapería is located the Casino, a social club erected in 1847, with a sumptous interior that includes a Moorish-style patio inspired by the Alhambra royal rooms.


The Holy Week processions in the city of Murcia are famous throughout Spain. Life-sized sculptures by Francisco Salzillo (1707-1783) are taken out of museums and carried around the city in elegant processions full of flowers and, at night, candles. These finely detailed sculptures portray events leading up to and including the crucifixion.


Murcia serves as a major producer of agricultural products; for example, it is common to find tomatoes, lettuce, and lemons grown in Murcia in European supermarkets.


Murcia has two Universities: a public university, the University of Murcia, founded in 1912, and a Catholic University (Universidad Católica San Antonio de Murcia), founded in 1996.

People from Murcia

Sport Teams

External links

Related subject links

This article incorporates text from the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica, which is in the public domain.

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