Population |Landscape |Climate |Tourist Destinations |Festivities|
Towns and districts |Comunications
Located at the South-East corner of the Iberian Peninsula, between the regions of, Andalusia, Castile-La Mancha and Valencia, the region of Murcia occupies an area of 11,317 km2 (2.2% of the total surface area of Spain), bordering the province of Albacete in the North, the province of Alicante in the East, the provinces of Granada, Albacete and Almería in the West, and the Mediterranean in the South-East.
In terms of surface area the Region of Murcia is the ninth largest of the Spanish autonomous communities. The Murcia region lies at the centre of the Spanish Mediterranean coastal arch, between the longitudes 37º 23' - 38º 45'N and the latitudes 0º 39' - 2º 20'W taking as reference the Greenwich Meridian.
According to the most recent census figures, corresponding to 1st January 2001, the Region of Murcia has an official population of 1,190,378 inhabitants. Analysis of the demographic evolution of the region shows a constant increase in population throughout the twentieth century, though it is only after 1976 that the Region begins to register increases above the national average, due mainly to the inversion of earlier migratory tendencies which had converted Murcia into a region from which the population was emigrating in search of opportunities in other parts of Spain or even abroad.
At the present time, the density of population for the year 2001 is 105.2 inhabitants per square kilometer, which is superior to the national average of 81.3.
From the geographical point of view, the region of Murcia stands out because of its multiple contrasts: dry vs. irrigated land, plains vs. mountainous areas, coastline vs. interior, vineyards vs. mesetas, factors which can no doubt be attributed to its location in a transitional area between the Sub-Baetic mountain range and the northern Sub-Meseta.
Morphologically, the relief of the territory of Murcia falls within the influence of the Baetic cordilleras and shows an alternation between mountainous tracts, valleys and depressions, leading to extreme contrasts of altitude over short distances. Of the total surface area, the majority (approx. 45%) is situated between the altitudes of 200 - 600 metres; 23% is less than 200 metres above sea level, and the remaining 32% lies at altitudes of over 600 metres.
Besides, Murcia has just over 170 km of coastline: coves and small beaches alternate with rocky shores and sheer, craggy cliffs. As a geographical accident of nature we find La Manga, a coastal strip of land which, bar a few connecting channels, or narrows, completely closes off the Mar Menor lagoon from the Mediterranean.
The Region of Murcia has the typical Mediterranean semi-arid subtropical climate: namely an average annual temperature of 18ºC, with hot summers (registering absolute maximum temperatures of 40ºC) and mild winters (an average temperature of 11ºC in the winter months of December and January).The number of days per year with clear skies is 120-150, with approximately 2,800 sun-hours per annum.
The number of days per year with clear skies is 120-150, with approximately 2,800 sun-hours per annum. In general rain is scarce throughout the region (approx. 300-350 mm/year), falling mainly in the spring (April) and autumn (October), leaving the summer an eminently dry season.
Two seas on one coastline - the Mar Menor and the Mediterranean - , impressive cliffs, heavenly beaches of endless white sand, lively ports and wild coves with crystal clear water, more than 3,000 hours of sun a year and mild temperatures - even in winter - with a yearly average of more than 18ºC. This is the Costa Calida, the ideal place to spend some days relaxing both in winter and summer.
As a result of its intense historical tradition, the reiterative superposition of cultures, its strategic location as a Mediterranean enclave and its transitional character as a border territory mid-way between the Meseta and Andalusia, the Murcia Region retains innumerable vestiges of the past, making it an ideal meeting-point where History and tradition have been instilled with new life and placed at the visitor´s disposal. The abundant remains and archaeological sites include rock-paintings in cave-shelters dating back to the Iberian period, the splendour of Roman antiquity with its urbanistic refinement and penchant for the theatrical, Visigothic cities, Arab medinas, Christian castles, watch-towers, churches and temples, civil and military constructions.
Finally the interior of the Murcia Region is ideal for those in search of relaxation, nature, sport and good food. The mountains here are full of wild game and woodland, and crowned with castles, fortresses, hermitages and convents. Stories and ancient legends enshroud these evocative, welcoming parts, inviting you with their robust, tasty cuisine to enjoy a few days´ relaxation in the fresh country air. Quiet, sleepy towns, such as Moratalla, Mula, Bullas, Cehegín, Caravaca, Jumilla, Yecla, and numerous other localities open their doors to visitors in search of new, tranquil sensations, those who want to lose themselves for a few hours among holms, pines, oaks and junipers, visit archaeological sites, experience traditional lifestyles, and, to get their strength back, sit down to a hearty stew, some migas or a tasty dish of game, accompanied by a fine bottle of local Denominación de Origen wine.
The Region of Murcia is outgoing by nature, with strong Mediterranean roots. The people have always prided themselves on their use of social gatherings as the ideal way of giving thanks for the marvellous climate and the generous fertility of the land, which gives shelter and hospitality to both inhabitants and strangers. Throughout the year it is possible to attend a plethora of events in the Region in which passion alternates with colour, joy with restraint, vitality with History and fervour with popular exaltation.
From January to December festivals move between pageantry and participation: from Carnival to Easter Week, from the Spring Festival -culminating in the spectacular Burial of the Sardine- to the Romans and Carthaginians pageants, from the Moors and Christians and the smell of gunpowder and blunderbusses to the Wine Horses, from the festival of the Grape Harvest to the Immaculate Conception and Christmas Eve, from the masterly Epiphany mystery play to the May Crosses, from the marine processions in honour of Our Lady of Carmen to the Romerías (local pilgrimages) inland, from the ever colourful Huerta (Farming) Festival to the profound, heart-rending flamenco-style Mine Song Festival. The festivities ofthe Region of Murcia are full of spectacularity and profou ndly felt sentiment.
Towns and districts
The Region of Murcia falls historically and geographically into a number of districts which agglutinate the 45 townships making up this uniprovincial autonomous community, all of which in turn depend on Murcia, the regional capital.
The district of Cartagena contains the townships of: Cartagena, La Unión, Los Alcázares, San Pedro del Pinatar, San Javier, Torre Pacheco, Fuente Álamo and Mazarrón. The district of Lorca is made up of: Lorca -the largest township in Spain in terms of surface area-, Águilas and Puerto Lumbreras. The Lower Guadalentín district includes: Totana, Alhama de Murcia and Librilla. The district of the Middle Segura Valley is made up of: Murcia, Alcantarilla, Beniel, Fortuna, Abanilla and Santomera. The Upper Segura Valley district contains: Abarán, Blanca, Calasparra, Cieza, Archena, Ojós, Ricote, Ulea, Villanueva del Segura, Alguazas, Ceutí, Lorquí, Molina de Segura and Las Torres de Cotillas. The Mula River Valley is made up of the townships of: Albudeite, Campos del Río, Mula and Pliego, whilst the Northwest District contains: Moratalla, Caravaca, Cehegín, Calasparra and Bullas.
The Region of Murcia enjoys excellent links with the rest of Spain through a full communications network. Investments carried out on the improvement and amplification of the road network, destined in particular to the construction of motorways, have made it possible to enhance links between the different townships within the region and at the same time to guarantee fluid, agile contact with the rest of Spain.
The railway network, with the imminent incorporation of the high speed train (AVE) connecting Murcia with Madrid and the Valencia region, and the project for a new regional airport equipped with state-of-the-art national and international air transport infrastructures, are two important elements of economic dynamisation for the area, constituting tangible proof of the intention to undertake touristic and commercial development at a level able to satisfy both the demands of the internal and the external markets.