Weather forecast Murcia
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Murcia (including rainfall and temperature averages)
Murcia, Land of the Myrtle, is one of Spain’s forgotten cities, little visited by Spaniards and barely known outside the country. Given that it’s the seventh largest city in Spain, this seems a little unfair, but the truth is that it’s slow-moving and little-changing, which only enhances its charm. It was not always like this: when the Moors founded the town in 825, it quickly developed into an important trading centre and by the time it was made regional capital in 1243 it was populous and strongly fortified. Captured by the Castilians later on in the century, it was resettled by Christian immigrants from Catalonia and Provence, who were brought there to purge the region of its Islamic influences. Many of the city’s mosques were converted into churches. Nevertheless, it continued to flourish, reaching its peak in the eighteenth century when it became a hub of the silk industry. Then the disasters began. Sacked by Napoleon in 1810, Murcia suffered an earthquake in 1829 which was followed by severe outbreaks of plague and cholera. The city went into freefall and has never really recovered as a cultural centre. Today it is known as the Orchard of Europe, a peaceful backwater with few tourists and less pretentions.
If you look beyond its reputation, there’s plenty to see in Murcia. Choose the time you visit carefully – the climate is fairly harsh, with blistering summers (peak temperatures surpass 35°) and icy winters. But with over 300 days of sun each year, it won’t be that bad for northern visitors. The biggest attraction is the Cathedral, which towers over the mansions of the centre. It was started in 1394 and completed in 1792, so the blend of architectural styles is fascinating. Don’t miss the views from the top of the tower, or the gruesome heart of Alfonso the Wise, which is displayed in an urn in the main altar. The Capilla de los Velez is an unrivalled piece of Hispanic Gothic art.
Most of the old town was rebuilt during the boom years of the eighteenth century and it is lovely to wander through. Museo Salzillo has an amazing collection of the figures carried in the Holy Week processions, all carved by native son Francisco Salzillo. The Easter celebration here is one of the most famous in Spain and well worth timing your visit for. Museo de Bellas Artes has a good selection of local art from medieval times through to the present day. The Casino is a social club that opened in 1847, combining an Arabic patio, an English reading room, a Pompeiian patio and a French ballroom!
Unsurprisingly in a place renowned for its produce, the vegetables in Murcia are wonderful. Locals make the most of them, either in delicious soups or grilled on a plancha with olive oil. They also grow excellent calasparra rice, which is at its best in paellas and other rice dishes, such as arroz negro, which incorporated squid in its ink, and arroz con costra, a rice and meat dish topped with a baked-egg crust. This is also a good region for wine – try wines from Jumilla or Ricote with your meal.
Monthly temperature and rainfall averages for Murcia
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