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Location

Autonomous region:
Murcia

Province/Island:
Murcia

Murcia

The beautiful town of Caravaca de la Cruz is located to the northwest of the Murcia province. In the houses that extend around the castle there are beautiful examples of the Murcian Renaissance. The area where Caravaca is located was already inhabited by the Argaric, Iberian, and Roman cultures, but the origins of its urban structure must be sought in its Moorish past. After the Reconquista, these territories began to be governed by the Templar Order and then by the Order of Saint James. At the time, during the 16th and 17th centuries, this was Caravaca's period of splendour, as it became the political centre of a vast territory. Therefore this town has a vast monumental catalogue, fruit of its historical importance. One of the main features is the castle that rises up above Caravaca's urban layout. It is of Muslim origin and was extended in the 15th century by the Patronage of the Templars and later belonged to the Order of Saint James. Its 14 towers are there to safeguard the shrine of the Santísima Vera Cruz which were built in its centre in the 17th century. The façade, which was built a century later, is Baroque style. The site is a Historic-Artistic Monument and its interior houses the Museum of Sacred Art and History. One of the religious constructions considered a crowning work of the Murcian Renaissance is found in Caravaca. It is the church of Salvador, which has been declared a Historic Artistic Monument. The cultural tour is completed by the church of Soledad, which today is the Archaeological Museum; the Carmelitas Convent, founded by Saint John of the Cross; and the Purísima Concepción, which was built in the 16th century on the site of the ancient Cofradía Hospitalaria de San Juan de Letrán Church. Of Renaissance origin, within its interior there are beautiful Mudejar cofferings and Baroque altar pieces. In addition, Caravaca de la Cruz is the fifth holy city of the world after Santiago de Compostela, Santo Toribio de Liébana, Rome and Jerusalem. Therefore, in this location Holy Year is celebrated every seven years and one can achieve jubilee,plenary, solemn and universal indulgence. The next Holy Year will be in 2017.

Festivities

The Santísima Vera Cruz festivities take place between 1 and 5 May. The two main highlights are the colourful Caballos del Vino and Moors and Christians parades. On the third Sunday of each month there is a Pilgrims' Market selling typical products and crafts.  




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