Posted by: lasterrazasapartment | August 24, 2011

North-West Murcia – A great cultural inheritance

The historical wealth of this region has it’s expression in the diverse monuments and places of interest found in these high territories of Murcia. In addition to the prehistoric sites and other antiquities we can immerse ourselves in the historical and artistic surroundings, religious buildings and large houses, and multicoloured facades of the styles of this area that introduce the visitor to its unique environment.

From the 16th century important monuments were built, especially religious ones. In Caravaca we find the Church of The Solitude, which today is an Archaeological Museum, it has a Roman tablet which forms the threshold of the front door. Also the Church of the Salvador, with it’s majestic columns and the magnificent alter piece; in addition it has seven side chapels, some with richly decorated gates, that contain artefacts of great value like the Greater Cross or the Painful, from the school of Salzillo. The Church of the Conception has a magnificent roof of Arabic style adorned with caissons and has the image of San Juan Evangelista. The stately house or tower of the Templars owned by the Marques of Velez. Other examples of this legacy is the Company School which is an impressive architectural building that reflects the power of the religious Order of Jesuits; the Carmelite Convent, founded by Santa Teresa de Jesus, with it’s pretty church; and the Convent of the Carmelite Nurses founded and visited seven times by San Juan de la Cruz.

Take a walk in Cehegín and see in the herreriana church of Santa Maria Magdalena where the Doric and Ionic styles are mixed. Here images are kept like the Virgin of the Angustias (Salzillo school,) and San Sebastian (late Gothic); the Church of The Solitude decorated in Baroque style where the traditional nine prayers are sung at Easter and also has the images of Christ lying and at the Solitude among others; at the Church of Christ you can see the red and black marble of typical of the area. The Hermitage Sanctuary of the Virgin of the Rock was built on the ruins of the Castle Canara, all of them located in the municipality of Cehegín.

From the 16th century important monuments were built in Mula. The Castle of the Fajardo family was built on a hill in stone between 1520 and 1525 by order of the Marques of Velez. It is of military construction, in 3 parts in which the only decoration are the dogs on the battlements and the family shields on the facades. A short while later the great churches were built and the Convent of the Purest Conception of the Franciscan Monks at Mula.

The church of this Convent and the one of the Parish of Santa Domingo erected also in 1558 are in the renaissance style of the moment. The churches of Mula contain interesting works of art. In the church of San Miguel Angel you can admire the iron gates and the choir constructed in the 18th century.

The Parish of Santa Domingo de Guzman houses different paintings, the linen clothes of the Flight to Egypt and of the Epihany, and the brushes of Mateo Gilarte and the Extasis from Santa Teresa of the following century. The builder of this church, Don Gonzalo Antonio of Castile and Cueto, included many statues, such as one of San Isidro Labrador of Planes. There are others carried in the processions at Easter carved by Juan Gonzalez Marino and Jose Sanchez Lozano.

In the Real Monastery of the Incarnation it is only possible to visit the sanctuary where there is a really beautiful garden with “esgrafiados” in the walls. There are also a cupola and “pechinas” as well the alter in the great chapel.

In Moratalla, the Church of Our Lady of Asuncion has impressive columns. The Convent of San Francisco is a good example of the splendour of the Franciscan order. The Hermitage of Christ’s House is the place of the legend which tells from where all the fertile valleys and rivers in Benamor and Alharabe come and at the Hermitage of Rogativa you find a corner of great beauty.

In Calasparra the Church of San Pedro has the images of San Pedro and San Sebastian in the main alter and a alter piece dedicated to the Virgin of the Rosary in the first chapel of the gospel. There is also an old rice mill transformed into a Municipal Archive which has a significant shield from the Melgarejo family who owned the valley of San Juan.

In Bullas you can follow a trail of the so called “Murcian Baroque” starting at the Church of our Lady of the Rosary and the surrounding in the Plaza Vieja, it continues in Cehegín with the Franciscan convent; the Sanctuary of the Wonders; where there is a statue of the Virgin, and along the main streets of the Old Town, signposting monumental facades, among them the Jasper Houses; the Third House or the one of Don Octavo; continue to explore the old town of Caravaca with its similar facades but where in addition monuments like the Templete or the Bandera de la Cruz; the Sanctuary of la Vera Cruz, with its walled enclosure of more than 7000 m2, a defensive building of great importance which now also has a museum of sacred and festival art. In Calasparra see the House – Pósito of Encomienda and the Grain House of the Count, nowadays an archaeological museum; and the Clock Tower. Go to Moratalla and walk down Main Street and note the baroque facades that reflects the designs of the renaissance period.

The cultural heritage of the 19th and 20th century evident in the municipalities. There are numerous works of neoclassic and modernist style, like the Clock Tower and the House of the Fig Tree in Bullas; the Cupola of the Emilio Perez Pinero in Calasparra; the House of Musas and the Hotel in Cehegín which completes a cultural itinery full of interest.


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