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—  Municipality  —
River front and the Cathedral's Belfry


Coat of arms
Murcia is located in Spain
Location in Spain
Coordinates: 37°59′10″N 1°7′49″W / 37.98611°N 1.13028°W / 37.98611; -1.13028Coordinates: 37°59′10″N 1°7′49″W / 37.98611°N 1.13028°W / 37.98611; -1.13028
Country  Spain
Autonomous community  Murcia
Province Murcia
Comarca Huerta de Murcia
Judicial district Murcia
Founded Between 825 and 831
 - Alcalde Miguel Ángel Cámara Botía (2007) (PP)
 - Total 881.86 km2 (340.5 sq mi)
Elevation 43 m (141 ft)
Population (2009)
 - Total 436,870
 Density 495.4/km2 (1,283.1/sq mi)
 - Demonym Murciano, na
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 - Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postal code 30001 al 30012
Official language(s)
Website Official website

Murcia, a city in south-eastern Spain, is the capital and most populous city of the Autonomous Community of the Region of Murcia, and the seventh largest city in the country, with a population of 436,870 inhabitants in 2009 (about one third of the total population of the Region). The population of the metropolitan area was 638.217 in 2008. It is located on the Segura River, in the Southeast of the Iberian Peninsula.

Murcia was founded by the Moors in 825 CE with the name Madinat Mursiya and is now mainly a services city and a university town. Highlights for visitors include the Cathedral of Murcia and a number of baroque buildings, renowned local cuisine, Holy Week processions, works of art by the famous Murcia sculptor Francisco Salzillo, and the Spring Festival.



Murcia is located near the center of a low-lying fertile plain known as the huerta (orchard or vineyard) of Murcia. The Segura River and its right-hand tributary, the Guadalentín, run through the area. The city has an elevation of 43 metres (141 ft) above sea level and covers approximately 882 square kilometres (341 sq mi).

The best known and most dominant aspect of the municipal area's landscape is the orchard. In addition to the orchard and urban zones, the great expanse of the municipal area is made up of different landscapes: badlands, groves of Carrasco pine trees in the precoastal mountain ranges and, towards the south, a semi-steppe region.

A large regional park, the Parque Regional de Carrasco y el Valle, lies just to the south of the city.

Segura River

The hill at Monteagudo

The Segura River crosses an alluvial plain (Vega Media del Segura), part of a Mediterranean pluvial system. The river crosses the city from west to east. Its volumetric flow is mostly small but the river is known to produce occasional flooding, like those that inundated the capital in 1946, 1948, 1973 or 1989. The Segura is recognized as one of the most polluted rivers in Europe[1].

Mountains and hills

The terrain owes its varied character to the mountain ranges of the south (Cordillera Sur). The Region of Murcia is surrounded by two mountain ranges, the Sierra de Orihuela and the Cresta de Gallo. The city itself is divided into eastern and western zones by a series of mountain ranges (Carrascoy, El Puerto, Villares, Columbares, Altaona, and Escalona). These two zones are known as Field of Murcia and Orchard of Murcia. Near the plain's center, the steep hill of Monteagudo protrudes dramatically.


Trapería Street.
Santo Domingo Square.

The 881.86-square-kilometre (340.49 sq mi) territory of Murcia's municipality is made up of 54 pedanías (suburban districts) and 28 barrios (city neighbourhood districts). The barrios make up the 12.86-square-kilometre (4.97 sq mi) the main urban portion of the city. The historic city center is approximately 3 square kilometres (1 sq mi) of the urbanized downtown portion of Murcia.


Murcia has a Semi-arid climate (Koppen climate classification BSh),[2] with Mediterranean (Csa) influences. Given its proximity to the Mediterranean Sea, it is commonly referred to as a "semi-arid Mediterranean climate", with mild winters and warm to hot summers.

It averages more than 300 days of sun per year[citation needed]. Occasionally, Murcia has heavy rains where the precipitation for the entire year will fall over the course of a few days.

During winter, the average daily temperature range is a high of 16 °C (61 °F) during the day and a low of 4 °C (39 °F) at night. In summer, the range goes from 30 °C (86 °F) during the day to 20 °C (68 °F) at night. Murcia's peak summer temperatures have been known to surpass 35 °C (95 °F). The highest temperature recorded in Spain through the 20th century was 47.2 °C (117.0 °F), which happened in Murcia on July 4, 1994.

Precipitation in Murcia is scarce, with the period from October 2004 through September 2005 registering less than 200 mm.

Climate data for Murcia-Alcantarilla (Airport)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 16.4
Daily mean °C (°F) 10.1
Average low °C (°F) 3.9
Precipitation cm (inches) 2.5
Avg. precipitation days 3 3 3 4 4 2 1 1 2 4 4 4 35
Source: Agencia Estatal de Meteorología[3]


Cathedral of Murcia.
The town hall.
Old Bridge.
Casa Cerdá.
Casino of Murcia.

Murcia has 433,850 inhabitants (INE 2008) making it the seventh-largest Spanish municipality by population. When adding in the municipalities of Alcantarilla, Alguazas, Beniel, Molina de Segura, Santomera, and Las Torres de Cotillas, the metropolitan area has 564,036 inhabitants making it the twelfth most populous metropolitan area in Spain. Nevertheless, due to Murcia's large municipal territory, its population density (472 hab./km², 760 hab./sq.mi.) does not likewise rank among Spain's highest.

According to the official population data of the INE, 10% of the population of the municipality reported belonging to a foreign nationality as of 2005.

Main sights

The Cathedral of the Diocese of Cartagena (based in Murcia) was built between 1394 and 1465 in the Castilian Gothic style. Its tower was completed in 1792 and shows a blend of architectural styles. The first two stories were built in the Renaissance style (1521–1546), while the third is Baroque. The bell pavilion exhibits both Rococo and Neoclassical influences. The main façade (1736–1754) is considered a masterpiece of the Spanish Baroque style.

Other noteworthy buildings in the square shared by the Cathedral (Plaza Cardenal Belluga) are the colorful Bishop's Palace (18th century) and a controversial extension to the town hall by Rafael Moneo.

The Glorieta, which lies on the banks of the Segura River, has traditionally been the center of the town. It is a pleasant, landscaped city square that was constructed during the 18th century. The ayuntamiento (city hall) of Murcia is located in this square.

Pedestrian areas cover most of the old town of the city, which is centered around Platería and Trapería Streets. Trapería goes from the Cathedral to the Plaza de Santo Domingo, formerly a bustling market square. Located in Trapería is the Casino, a social club erected in 1847, with a sumptuous interior that includes a Moorish-style patio inspired by the royal chambers of the Alhambra near Granada. The name Plateria refers to plata (silver), as this street was the historical focus for the commerce of rare metals by Murcia's Jewish community. The other street, Traperia, refers to trapos, or cloths, as this was once the focus for the Jewish community's garment trade.

Other notable places around Murcia include:

  • the Malecón boulevard
  • La Fuensanta sanctuary and adjacent El Valle regional park
  • Los Jerónimos monastery
  • Romea theatre
  • Almudí Palace
  • Monteagudo Castle
  • Salzillo Museum
  • San Juan de Dios church-museum.

In the metropolitan area are also the Azud de la Contraparada reservoir and the Noria de La Ñora water wheel.


The Holy Week procession hosted by the city is among the most famous throughout all of Spain. This traditional festival portrays the events which lead up to and include the Crucifixion according to the New Testament. Life-sized, finely-detailed sculptures by Francisco Salzillo (1707–1783) are removed from their museums and carried around the city in elegant processions amid flowers and, at night, candles, pausing at stations which are meant to re-enact the final moments before the crucifixion of Jesus.

The most colorful festival in Murcia may come one week after Holy Week, when locals dress up in traditional huertano clothing to celebrate the Bando de la Huerta (Huerta parade) on Tuesday and fill the streets for the Entierro de la Sardina (Burial of the Sardine) parade the following Saturday.

Murcia's Three Cultures International Festival happens each May and was first organized with the intent of overcoming racism and xenophobia in the culture. The festival seeks to foster understanding and reconciliation between the three cultures that have cohabited the peninsula for centuries, if not millennia: Christians, Jews[4] and Muslims. Each year, the festival celebrates these three cultures through music, exhibitions, symposiums and conferences[5].


Murcia serves as a major producer of agricultural products; it is common to find Murcia's tomatoes and lettuce, and especially lemons and oranges, in European supermarkets. Murcia is a producer of wines, with about 100,000 acres (40,469 ha) devoted to grape vineyards. Most of the vineyards are located in Ricote and Jumilla. Jumilla is a plateau where the vineyards are surrounded by mountains.

Murcia is a centre for industry, with many British companies choosing it as a location for satellite factories, such as Henry Milward & Sons, which manufactures surgical and knitting needles.

Recently, the economy of the region is turning towards "residential tourism" in which people from northern European countries have a second home in the area. Europeans and Americans are able to learn Spanish in the academies in the town center.

The economy of Murcia is supported by fairs and congresses, museums, theatres, cinema, music, aquariums, bullfighting, restaurants, hotels, camping, sports, foreign students, and tourism.


Tram project

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 Ribera, 45 kilometres (28 mi) southeast of Murcia. There is also an airport at the neighboring city of Alicante.

  • Bus: The transport is provided by LatBus which operates the urban bus and other interurban services.
  • Tramway: Provided by Tranvimur. As of 2007, 2 kilometres of line were available, with 4 more lines scheduled to be built.
  • Train: Provided by RENFE. Murcia has two Cercanías train lines, to Alicante and to Águilas.

City Government

Mayor Miguel Ángel Cámara Botía (PP) has been in office since 1995.


The hospitals and other public primary healthcare centers belong to the Murcian Healthcare Service. There are three public hospitals in Murcia:

  • Ciudad Sanitaria Virgen de La Arrixaca in El Palmar that includes obstetrics and paediatrics units
  • Hospital Reina Sofía
  • Hospital Morales Meseguer
  • Hospital Virgen de la Vega, from ASISA


University of Murcia
University of Murcia (cloister)

Murcia has three universities:

  • two public universities: the University of Murcia, founded in 1912 and the UPCT, Polytechnic University of Cartagena
  • one private university: the UCAM, Saint Anthony Catholic University.

There are several high schools, elementary schools, and professional schools. Murcia has three types of schools for children: private schools such as El Limonar International School, Murcia (an English language school), semi-private schools (concertado), which are private schools that receive government funding and sometimes offer religious instruction, and public schools such as Colegio Publico (CP) San Pablo (specialising in mathematics and science) or CP Cierva Peñafiel, one of the oldest ones.

The private schools and concertados can be religious (Catholic) or secular, but the public schools are strictly secular. Concertado schools fill a need by providing schools where the government isn't able to or predate the national school system.

Instituto de Educacion Secundaria Alfonso X El Sabio offers Selectividad, the college entrance exam. Instituto Licenciado Cascales is one of the oldest in the city, built in 1724, and perhaps the most emblematic.[1]


It is widely believed that Murcia's name is derived from the Latin words of Myrtea or Murtea, meaning land of Myrtle (the plant is known to grow in the general area), although it may also be a derivation of the word Murtia, which would mean Murtius Village (Murtius was a common Roman name). Other research suggests that it may owe its name to the Latin Murtae (Mulberry), which covered the regional landscape for many centuries. The Latin name eventually changed into the Arabic Mursiya, and then, Murcia.

The city in its present location was founded with the name Medinat Mursiya (market of Murcia) in AD 825 by Abd ar-Rahman II, who was then the emir of Al-Andalus. Moorish planners, taking advantage of the course of the river Segura, created a complex network of irrigation channels that made the town's agricultural existence prosperous. In the 12th century the traveler and writer Muhammad al-Idrisi described the city of Murcia as populous and strongly fortified. After the fall of the Caliphate of Cordoba in 1031, Murcia passed under the successive rules of the powers seated variously at Almería, Toledo and Seville. In 1172 it was taken by the Almohades, and from 1223 to 1243 it briefly served as the capital of an independent kingdom.

The Castilians, with forces led by King Alfonso X, took the city at the end of this period of autonomy, whereupon large numbers of mixed immigrants from north Catalonia and Provence resettled the town. As with much of the Spanish Reconquest, these Christian populations were brought to the area with the goal of establishing a Christian base here, one that would be loyal to the Crown of Castile and whose culture would supplant that of the subjugated Moorish peoples. During the process of Christianization, many of the city’s mosques were destroyed or converted into Catholic churches. In 1296, control over Murcia and the surrounding region was transferred to the Kingdom of Aragon and, in 1304, was finally incorporated into Castile under the Treaty of Torrellas.

Murcia flourished in the 18th century, benefiting greatly from a boom in the silk industry. Many of the modern city's landmark churches and monuments date from this period of nascent mercantilism.

However, this was to be followed by nearly a century of mishap. In 1810, Murcia was looted by Napoleonic troops; it then suffered a major earthquake in 1829. According to contemporaneous accounts, an estimated 6,000 people died from the disaster's effects across the province. Plague and cholera followed.

The town and surrounding area suffered badly from floods in 1651, 1879, and 1907, though the construction of a levee helped to stave off the repeated floods from the Segura. A popular pedestrian walkway, the Malecon, runs along the top of the levee.

Murcia has been the capital of the province of Murcia since 1838 and, with its creation by the central government in 1982, capital of the autonomous community (which includes only the city and the province). Since then, it has become the seventh most populated municipality in Spain, and a thriving services city.

Notable People from Murcia

Sport teams

Twin towns - sister cities

Murcia is twinned with:

See also



External links

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary


Wikipedia has an article on:


Proper noun




  1. An autonomous community in south-eastern Spain.
  2. The capital city of the region of Murcia.

Simple English

File:Murcia, Spain
Murcia (red dot) on a map of Spain
File:Murcia - Puente
Old bridge over the river

Murcia is the capital of the autonomous community of Murcia, in Spain, and its biggest city, with a population of 410,000 in the city and more than 740,000 in the metropolitan area. The municipality is the seventh largest in Spain. The city is in the Segura Valley, in an area called la Huerta de Murcia, which is a very important agricultural center with oranges, lemons, tomatoes, onions, etc.; the varied fruits and vegetables typical of the Mediterranean lands. The city has a Baroque cathedral and a university.

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