The Autonomous Community of the Region of Murcia (Spanish:
Comunidad Autónoma de la Region de Murcia) is one of
Spain's seventeen autonomous communities, located in the
southeast of the country, between Andalucía and Valencia
Community, on the Mediterranean coast.
The autonomous community consists of a single province
(region), unlike most autonomous communities, which have
multiple provinces. Because of this, the autonomous
community and the region are operated as one unit of
government. The city of Murcia is the capital of the
The Region of Murcia is bordered by Andalucía (provinces
of Almeria and Granada); Castilla-La Mancha (the province
of Albacete), which was historically connected to Murcia
until 1833; Valencia Community (province of Alicante); and
the Mediterranean Sea. The highest mountain is
Revolcadores (2015 m).
The community measures 11,313 km² and has a population of
1.2 million, of who one-third live in the capital.
The region is a major producer of fruits, vegetables, and
flowers for Spain and the rest of Europe. Excellent
wineries have developed near the towns of Bulla’s, Yecla,
and Jumilla, as well as olive oil near Moratalla. Murcia
is mainly a warm region which has made it very suitable
However the precipitations are little and water supplies
is a hot subject today since, to the traditional water
demand for crops it has added recently a demand of water
for the booming touristy developments which take advantage
of the mild weather and beaches. Water is supplied by the
Segura River or Río Segura (which has been labelled as the
most polluted river in Europe) and, ever since the 70's,
by the Tajo transvasement a major civil engineering which,
under some environmental and sustaintibility restraints,
brings water from the Tajo into the Segura.
The Carthaginians established a permanent trading depot on
the coast at Cartagena, which the Romans called Carthago
Nova. For the Carthaginian traders, the mountainous
territory was merely the Iberian hinterland of their
seacoast empire. Roman Murcia was a part of the province
of Hispania Carthaginians. Under the Moors, who introduced
the large-scale irrigation on which Murcian agriculture
depends, the province was known as Todmir; it included,
according to Idrisi, the 11th century Arab cartographer
based in Sicily, the cities of Orihuela, Lorca, Mula and
The Kingdom of Murcia came into independent existence as a
taifa centred on the Moorish city of Murcia after the fall
of the Omayyad Caliphate of Córdoba (11th century).
Moorish Taifa of Murcia included Albacete and part of
Almeria as well. After the battle of Sag rajas in 1086 the
Almoravid dynasty swallowed up the taifas and reunited
Ferdinand III of Castile received the submission of the
Moorish king of Murcia in 1243. By the usual process, the
Muslims were evicted from the cities, and Ferdinand's heir
Alfonso X of Castile, for the better governing of a
depopulated Murcia, divided the administration of the
border kingdom in three regions, entrusted respectively to
the concejos de realengo, to the ecclesiastical señores
seculars, as a reward for their contributions to the
Reconquista and to the Military Orders founded in the 11th
Alfonso annexed the Taifa of Murcia like King of Murcia
and Señorio de Cartagena outright in 1266, and it remained
technically a vassal kingdom of Spain until the reforms in
the liberal constitution of 1812. Murcia became an
autonomous region in 1982.
The Castilian conquest of Murcia was significant because
it gave that kingdom access to the Mediterranean for the
first time and ended the expansion of the Kingdom of
Aragon which had been moving south along the coast.
The Cathedral of the Diocese of Cartagena-Murcia was built
between 1394 and 1465 in Castilian Gothic style. Its tower,
only completed in 1792, shows a mixture of styles: the
first two stories were built in Renaissance style
(1521-1546), the third one is Baroque, and the bell
pavilion has Rococo and Neoclassical influences. The main
façade (1736-1754) is considered a masterpiece of the
Spanish Baroque style.
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 traditionally
been the centre of the town. This a pleasant landscaped
square, built in the 18th-century. The Ayuntamiento (City
Hall) is located here.
Pedestrian areas cover most of the old town, centred on
Platería and Trapería Streets. Trapería goes from the
Cathedral to the Plaza de Santo Domingo, the former 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 Alhambra royal rooms.