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Published: September 21st 2013
Charlotte & Michelle at Cafeteria Victors, Sucina
Where we went for a cup of coffee before heading off to Murcia; it was full of expats from the UK
The seventh largest city in Spain, Murcia was founded in 825 CE and is about 35 kms away from Hacienda Riquelme where I'm staying with Charlotte. We spent most of Friday in Murcia. It was a beautiful day with temperatures in the low 30s so we enjoyed exploring some of the old city.
After parking the car we decided just to walk around and see where we ended up. First building we came to was the Cathedral Church of Saint Mary. Originally a Moorish Mosque created in 1394 it was changed and added to in the Baroque period of Spain and is now regarded as the most important monument in Murcia. Naturally we went in; the opulence reminded me of St Peter's Basilica in Rome. There was a magnificent, and huge, organ in there; very impressive.
The beautiful 19th century Romeo Theatre was also on our walking tour and like the cathedral was situated in a large pedestrian square with cafes all around. It must be a buzz of exciting activity in the evenings when some of the many shows advertised are being performed.
Another place we enjoyed looking around was the Casino of Murcia which was first
opened as a gentleman's club in 1887; there were a couple of rooms for members only but which we were allowed to go into. The second floor of the building was all for members only I think. The foyer of the casino was inspired by the Alhambra in Granada. No doubt you remember walking around there a few years ago Kev.
We also wandered around what had been the Church and Cloisters of La Merced which was completed in 1713. Now part of the university, the building currently houses the School of Law and the School of Arts & Literature. We also wandered through many other university buildings in the general area with groups of students standing around chatting.
Finally, before heading home we visited the Murcia Bull Ring - Plaza de Toros - built in 1887. We waited, along with many Spanish families carrying their picnic baskets, for the bull ring to open and were seated inside by 5pm but when we discovered that nothing started until 6.30pm we decide d to give that a miss. We THINK - from conversations in Charlotte's Spanish and my English - that it was a practise parade of some sort.
What we saw of Murcia was fascinating. In 1172 the city was captured by a North African Muslim empire, the last such empire to rule Spain. It's history is something you feel compelled to find out more about; interesting details such as the fact that in1810 Napoleon's troops looted the place, there was a major earthquake in 1829 when an estimated 6,000 people died and the River Segera has flooded the city many times!
I could go on but had better stop while I'm ahead!!
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