Region of Murcia
Región de Murcia
|Región de Murcia (in Spanish)|
Location of the Region of Murcia within Spain
|o President||Fernando López Miras (PP)|
(2.2% of Spain; Ranked 9th)
|o Total||11,313 km2 (4,368 sq mi)|
|o Density||130/km2 (340/sq mi)|
|o Pop. rank||10th|
|o Percent||3.0% of Spain|
Spanish: murciano (m), murciana (f)
|ISO 3166 code|
ES-MC (region) ES-MU (province)
|Parliament||Regional Assembly of Murcia|
|Congress seats||10 (of 350)|
|Senate seats||6 (of 265)|
very high · 12th
|Website||Comunidad Autónoma de la Región de Murcia|
The Region of Murcia (, also ;Spanish: Región de Murcia [re'xjon de 'muja]), is an autonomous community of Spain located in the southeast of the state, bordered by Andalusia,Castilla-La Mancha and the Valencian Community, on the Mediterranean coast.
The autonomous community consists of a single province, unlike most autonomous communities, which have several provinces within the same territory. Because of this, the autonomous community and the province are operated as one unit of government. The city of Murcia is the capital of the region and seat of government organs, except for the parliament, the Regional Assembly of Murcia, which is located in Cartagena. The autonomous community and province is subdivided into municipalities.
The Region of Murcia is bordered by Andalusia (the provinces of Almería and Granada), Castile-La Mancha (the province of Albacete, which was historically connected to Murcia until 1980), the Valencian Community (province of Alicante), and the Mediterranean Sea. The community covers 11,313 km² in area and has a population of 1.4 million. About one-third of its population lives in the capital. The highest peak of the region is Los Obispos Peak, in the Massif of Revolcadores, with 2,014 m. altitude.
Of its extensive heritage, it is worth mentioning the 72 cave rock art ensembles belonging to the rock art of the Rock art of the Iberian Mediterranean Basin declared World Heritage Site, as well as the Council of Wise Men of the plain of Murcia, declared Intangible world cultural heritage, in the same way as the Drums of Moratalla and Mula are Intangible world cultural heritage. in the region of Murcia is the town of Caravaca de la Cruz, place of reference for the worship of the Catholic Church by having the privilege of celebrating the Jubilee Year in perpetuity every seven years around the Vera Cruz de Caravaca.
The region is one of the largest producers of fruits, vegetables, and flowers of Europe, with important vineyards in the municipalities of Jumilla, Bullas and Yecla, which produce wines with Denominación de origen. It also has an important tourist sector, concentrated on a coast with many virgin spaces (many of them threatened) and that has the saltwater lagoon of the Mar Menor. Its industry stands out for the petrochemical and energy sector (centred on Cartagena) and the food industry. Murcia is mainly a warm region which has made it very suitable for agriculture. However the precipitation level is low and water supply is a hot subject today since, in addition to the traditional water demand for crops, there is now also a demand of water for the booming tourist developments. Water is supplied by the Segura River and, since the 1970s, by the Tajo transvasement, a major civil engineering project which, under some environmental and sustainability restraints, brings water from the Tajo into the Segura.
The Region of Murcia is a historical region of southeastern Spain, heiress of the ancient Kingdom of Murcia, which has traditionally included as biprovincial region the provinces of Albacete and Murcia. during the Transition, Albacete moved to the new Castile-La Mancha, forming the uniprovincial autonomy of the Region of Murcia.
The toponym Murcia has a controversial origin. According to Francisco Cascales, this toponym could refer to the Roman goddess Venus Murcia, related to the myrtles on the banks of the Segura River; hypothesis that has been discussed in this regard. Historical studies conclude that, like the above-mentioned divinity, Murcia is a place name of Latin origin that derives very probably from Myrtea or Murtea ("place of myrtles" or "place where grow the myrtles") and that Mursiya (first name already documented in the Islamic period to the city of Murcia) was the adaptation of the Arabic from the Latin term pre-existing. According to Bienvenido Mascaray, the name would come from the Iberian language in the form m-ur-zia, meaning "the water that empowers or moistens". as Bienvenido Mascaray, the name would come from the Iberian language in the form m-ur-zia, meaning "the water that soaks or moistens"
The use of this term to define the present region also has its origin in the Taifa of Murcia (Arab kingdom) that existed at different times of the 11th, 12th and 13th centuries, a political entity that served as the basis for the conquest (which took place in this area between 1243 and 1266) to also emerge the Christian kingdom of Murcia, territorial jurisdiction that came to have its own institutions and that existed until 1833.
After the provincial administrative reform of that year there began to exist a first Region of Murcia formed by the provinces of Albacete and Murcia. In the first decentralizer attempt in the history of Spain during the First Republic, this region was one of the 17 member states that contemplated the Spanish Draft Constitution of 1873, proclaiming during that year the so-called Cantón Murciano as an attempt of regional canton in the context of the Cantonal rebellion.
In 1978, the Regional Council of Murcia was created as a pre-autonomous body until 1982, when the Statute of Autonomy of the Region of Murcia was approved, where the province of Murcia exclusively granted autonomy under the official name of Autonomous Community of the Region of Murcia in the framework of the political process experienced during the Spanish transition.
The flag of the Region of Murcia is rectangular and contains four battlement castles in gold, at the upper left corner, distributed two in two (symbolizing the border character of the ancient Kingdom of Murcia and the four borders that it had at some point in its history), and seven royal crowns at the lower right angle (these being the escutcheon of the historical coat of arms of the Kingdom of Murcia), arranged in four rows, with one, three, two and one elements, respectively; all on a crimson background or Cartagena.
Its origin dates back to the Spanish transition, when the president of the Regional Council of Murcia, Antonio Pérez Crespo, commissioned a commission in 1978 to study the future flag of the Region of Murcia. Commission formed by historians Juan Torres Fontes and José María Jover and senators Ricardo de la Cierva and Antonio López Pina. The project was approved on 26 March 1979 and was first hoisted on 5 May 1979 on a balcony of the Regional Council building, the former Provincial Council of Murcia (now the Ministry of Finance).
The same committee established that the coat of arms of the Region of Murcia had the same symbols and distribution as the flag, with the royal crown. Flag and shield were collected in Article 4 of the Statute of Autonomy of the Region of Murcia, approved by organic law in 1982.
The Day of the Region of Murcia is celebrated on 9 June, commemorating the promulgation of the Statute of Autonomy.
The Region of Murcia is an autonomous community of Spain located in the southeast of the Iberian Peninsula, on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. With 11,313 km2, it is the ninth region of Spain by area and represents 2.9% of the national extension. The Community extends over the greater part of the hydrographic basin of the Segura River, thus counting with a defined geographical unit, except for the comarcas of the Sierra de Segura and the Campos de Hellín which were in the province of Albacete, Los Vélez in Almería and La Vega Baja in the province of Alicante, all belonging to the same basin.
Its geographical position is 38º 45'at the northern end, 37º 23' at the southern end, 0º 41' at the eastern end and 2º 21' at the western end.
The region of Murcia is located at the eastern end of the Baetic System, being affected climatologically by an orography that isolates it from the Atlantic influence. These mountain ranges are divided in turn from North to South in:
Approximately 27% of the Murcian territory corresponds to mountainous reliefs, 38% to intramountain depressions and corridor valleys, and the remaining 35% to plains and high plateaus.
Some of these valleys and plains are the coastal depression of the Campo de Cartagena-Mar Menor, a little further inland is the Valle del Guadalentín (also called the Murcian pre-coastal depression) that travels much of the Murcian geography in the direction of SW-NE, The fertile plains of the Segura that are arranged since that river enters the region (being one of the most famous ones the so-called Valle de Ricote), and other inland valleys formed by tributaries of the Segura like the basin of Mula. Among the high plateaus are the Campo de San Juan and the Altiplano murciano.
As an explanation for this complex relief, it is important to highlight the existence of important faults throughout the area, such as the Fault of Alhama de Murcia, the Fault of Bullas-Archena or the Cicatriz Nor-Bética, which, along with the intersection with other minor faults, generate numerous earth movements, such as the 2011 Lorca earthquake.
The Region of Murcia enjoys a Mediterranean climate of semi-arid type, with mild winters (an average of 11 °C in December and January) and warm summers (where the daily maximum regularly exceeds 40 °C). The average annual temperature is 18 °C.
With little precipitation of about 300 to 350 mm per year, the region has between 120 and 150 days in the year where the sky is totally clear. April and October are the months with the most precipitation, there being frequent heavy downpours in a single day.
The distance to the sea and the relief causes a thermal difference between the coast and the interior, specially in winter, when the temperature rarely descends below 10 °C on the coast, while in the interior regions the minimum does not usually rise above 6 °C and the precipitation level is higher (up to 600 mm).
The city of Murcia holds the record temperature of the 20th century in Spain. It reached 46.1 °C (115 °F) on July 4, 1994. The winter of 2005 was the coldest in a long time, with snow even falling on the Murcian coast. 
The hydrographic network of the region is made up of the Segura river and its affluents:
Due to the water supplying incapacity of the Segura river basin, contributions to this river basin are made, originated from the basin of the Tajo river, by means of the Tajo-Segura transvasement.
The greatest natural lake of Spain can be found in the region: the Mar Menor (Small Sea) lagoon. It is a salt water lagoon, adjacent to the Mediterranean Sea. Its special ecological and natural characteristics make the Mar Menor a unique natural place and the largest saltwater lake in Europe. With a semicircular shape, it is separated from the Mediterranean Sea by a sand strip 22 km (14 mi) in length and between 100 and 1200 m wide, known as La Manga del Mar Menor (the Minor Sea's Sandbar). The lagoon has been designated by the United Nations as a Specially Protected Zone of Importance for the Mediterranean. Its coastal perimeter accounts for 73 km (45 mi) of coast in which beaches follow one another with crystal clear shallow water (the maximum depth does not exceed 7m). The lake has an area of 170 square kilometers.
There are more than 30 trees species, more than 50 bush especies and more than 130 herbaceous plant species listed in Region of Murcia. Some species have been introduced in any era, but the individuals of these species are part of the landscapes like any other species.
Tree species that can be found in Region of Murcia are Aleppo pines, Mediterranean buckthorns, tamarisk trees, field elms. There are some species that have been introduced like the Mediterranean cypress.
Some bush species that compose several landscapes in Region of Murcia are esparto grass, a species of the genus European fan palm, Salsola genistoides (close to the opposite-leaved saltworts), rosemary, lentisks, black hawthorns, Neptune grass, shaggy sparrow-wort and Retama sphareocarpa. There are species which have been introduced such as the tree tobacco and Opuntia maxima.
In regards to herbaceous plants, some species are slender sowthistles, false sowthistles, mallow bindweeds, wall barleys, fennels, Brachypodium retusum (close to false-bromes), Thymus hyemalis (close to broad-leaved thymes), Asphodelus ayardii (of the same genus as onionweeds). There some introduced species such as the African wood-sorrel and the flax-leaf fleabane.
In the region, more than 10 species of land mammals (not considering bats), 19 bat species, more than 80 bird species, 11 species of amphibians, 21 reptile species and 9 species of fishes can be seen.
The mammals which inhabit the area are barbary sheeps, European badgers, beech martens, Eurasian otters, red foxes, wild boars, red squirrels, European wildcats, garden dormouses, and Cabreras vole (of the same genus as field voles). In addition, some species of bats are common pipistrelle, Kukhl's pipistrelle, common bent-wing bat, soprano pipistrelle, greater horseshoe bat, meridional serotine (which only inhabits southern Spain, Morocco, Algeria and Tunis), lesser horseshoe bat and European free-tailed bat.
In regards to birds, there are some species of raptors such as Bonelli's eagles, golden eagles, peregrine falcons, little owls and Eurasian eagle-owls. There are also waterbirds like yellow-legged gulls, mallards, black-winged slits, little grebes and garganeys. Other bird species are house sparrow, European greenfinch, European robins, common blackbirdsand European turtle doves.
Species of reptiles that are present in the region are Montpellier snakes, ladder snakes, horseshoe whip snakes, viperine water snakes, Iberian worm lizards, Spanish pond turtles, Iberian wall lizards, Spanish psammodromus, Tarentola mauritanica, loggerhead sea turtles and Greek tortoises.
The Carthaginians established a permanent trading port 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. During The Roman period Murcia did not exist but its current borders could have been inside of the province of Hispania Carthaginensis. 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 12th century Arab cartographer based in Sicily, the cities of Orihuela, Lorca, Mula and Chinchilla.
The Kingdom of Murcia became independent as a taifa centered on the Moorish city of Murcia after the fall of the Umayyad Caliphate of Córdoba (11th century). Moorish Taifa of Murcia included Albacete and part of Almería as well. After the battle of Sagrajas in 1086 the Almoravid dynasty swallowed up the taifas and reunited Islamic Spain. Ferdinand III of Castile received the submission of the Moorish king of Murcia in 1243 under the terms of the Treaty of Alcaraz.
In the usual way, the Muslims were evicted from the cities, and Ferdinand's heir Alfonso X of Castile, who benefited from rule over a largely depopulated Murcia, divided the border kingdom in three regions for administrative purposes, entrusted respectively to the concejos de realengo, to the ecclesiastical señores seculares, as a reward for their contributions to the Reconquista and to the Military Orders founded in the 11th century. Alfonso annexed the Taifa of Murcia as King of Murcia 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 the former 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 Region of Murcia has a population of 1,424,063 inhabitants (INE 2008, National Statistic Institute of Spain), of which almost a third (30.7%) live in the municipality of Murcia. It makes up 3.0% of the Spanish population. In addition, after Ceuta and Melilla, Murcia has the highest population growth (5.52 by thousand inhabitants) and also the highest birth rate of the country.
In the 1991-2005 period the Murcian population grew at by 26.06%, as opposed to the national average of 11.85%. 12.35% of the inhabitants are of foreign origin, according to the INE 2005 census, which is 4% more than the Spanish average. The most notable groups of immigrants are Ecuadorians (33.71% of the total of foreigners), Moroccans (27.13%), Britons (5.95%), Bolivians (4.57%) and Colombians (3.95%).
The Spanish spoken in the region has its own accent and local words. The Murcian dialect is one of the southern dialects of Spanish and tends to eliminate many syllable-final consonants and to emphasize regional vocabulary, much of which is derived from Aragonese, Catalan and Arabic words. The general intonation and some of the distinctive vocabulary of the Spanish dialect spoken in Murcia share several traits with the one spoken in the neighboring province of Almería, north of Granada, and the Vega Baja del Segura in the Alicante province.
Despite the famous seaside resorts, the overall region is relatively unknown even within Spain, so it continues to be relatively unspoilt compared to other more overcrowded areas of the Spanish Mediterranean coast. Nevertheless, its more than 300 sunny days a year with an average temperature of 21 degrees Celsius, and the 250 km (160 mi) of beaches of the so-called Costa Cálida (Warm Coast) have attracted tourists for decades.
The region is also being promoted as a cultural destination with a lot of highlights for visitors: monuments, gastronomy, cultural events, museums, historic remains, festivals etc. The Region of Murcia is one of the Spanish autonomous communities that has grown the most in the last years, and this has conferred it the character of an ideal destination of services, shopping and for the organization of cultural events and conventions.
Cartagena's and Lorca's Holy Week's processions have been declared of International Tourist Interest, together the Murcia's "Bando de la Huerta" and "The Burial of the Sardine in Murcia", included in its Spring Festivities. Murcia's Holy Week is also interesting since its processions include Murcian sculptor Francisco Salzillo's statues.
Cartagena's main festivities are the Carthagineses y Romanos, re-enacting the Punic Wars. They have been declared of National Tourist Interest.
The Águila's Carnival is one of the most important and colourful of Spain.
This is the most developed tourist resource in Murcia. The Costa Cálida has 250 km (160 mi) of beaches, from el Mojón at the North near Alicante to Águilas, South West Murcia, near Almería. One of the major destinations of Murcia is the Mar Menor or Small Sea, the largest natural lake of Spain and the largest salty lagoon in Europe, located by the Mediterranean. It is separated from the mediterranean by a 22 km (14 mi) narrow sandy strip known as La Manga del Mar Menor or simply La Manga. It is probably the most developed and overcrowded holiday area of Murcia, despite being declared a Specially Protected Area of Mediterranean Importance (SPAMIs) by the United Nations.
Mar Menor's muds are famous for its therapeutic properties. Apart from Mar Menor, the Murcian coast from the historical city of Cartagena to the frontier with Andalusia, that corresponds to the Mediterranean Sea alternates wild and unspoilt rocky areas with large sandy beaches, with the towns of Mazarrón and Águilas standing out.
The tourism needs have forced the area to add all kinds of facilities and services. The construction boom shows the huge amount of estates, including the controversial holiday resorts of Polaris World and second residences, as well as numerous malls. Thanks to the orography and climate of the region of Murcia, these lands are suitable for golf courses, a fact that has been very controversial because of the need for water, which Murcia lacks, being a very dry region.
Other services includes nautical charters; yacht facilities; golf courses; adventure tourism companies; sports federations; tourist routes; guided visits and excursions by sea.
Inner lands of the region, near the historical towns of Caravaca de la Cruz and Moratalla, offer a number of rural accommodations and facilities: cottages, farmhouses, country houses and camp sites. Visitors can engage in activities related to excursions, day trips, sports, sightseeing.