Region of Murica
REGION OF MURCIA
Murcia is one of the regions with the greatest yearly number of sunny days, an average temperature of 21º C, and 250 km of shoreline over two seas: the Minor and the Mediterranean. Its environment is noted for being a land of contrasts, with high mountain natural parks, southern basins with steppe landscapes, and wonderful beaches such as those of La Manga, Mazarrón and Calblanque.
Murcia´s coastline is rich and diverse, with strips of rough waters and coves with placid and serene beaches. Dunes, salt flats, wetlands... The Murcia Region coastline contains a considerable number of areas of unquestionable environmental interest, with many of them being Natural Protected Areas. Places where you can still find native flora and fauna species such as the Phoenician juniper (Sabina mora), a native tree variety, and the "fartet" (Aphanius iberus), a minute and highly unusual fish, the only one of its kind.
The diversity of landscapes, a privileged climate and its cultural and historical richness make Murcia the perfect region to live in and enjoy the outdoors, practice water sports in the Minor Sea, explore its mountains, go hiking, rural tourism... and, of course, play golf.
Six National Tourism Interest festivals, and 31 Regional Tourism Interest festivals provide an idea of the Murcia Region´s lengthy festive calendar, of great interest to residents and visitors alike.
It all begins on the last Sunday in January, with the Cuadrillas de Barranda Festival. February is Carnival month, with famous dance troupe parades, and costume contests in communities such as Águilas, Cartagena, and Cabezo de Torres.
Holy Week is noted for the Cartagena, Lorca, Jumilla and Murcia processions. It is also the season of the Tamborradas (processions with drummers) that accompany the Mula and Moratalla celebrations, and the Murcia Spring Festivals. A highlight of the latter festivals is Bando de la Huerta Day, on which thousands of Murcianos', sporting their traditional attire, accompany the cavalcade through the city. Another Holy Week festival is the Entierro de la Sardina, which is Murcia´s other major festival together with Bando. A pagan festival of mythology and fire, a must-see magical night in the city, where a striking parade of dance troupes, brass bands, entertainment groups, dragons, giants, huge-headed figures, and floats accompany an enormous sardine, which is ultimately burned in a purifying fire under a spring sky lit up by the dazzling fireworks performance.
The month of May features Moor and Christian parades in many of the region´s towns, such as Abanilla and Alhama, and the massively attended performances of the Santísima y Vera Cruz Festival in Caravaca.
The summer sees an abundance of Virgen del Carmen seafarer´s processions in many of the coastal communities. It is also the season of cultural festivals such as those of San Javier, La Unión, Los Alcázares, Lorca, and the Wine Harvest Festival in Jumilla.
In autumn Murcia prepares for the September Fair, with the Moors and Christians parades, and the Mediterranean Folklore Festival. Concurrently, legions of Romans and Carthaginians face each other on the streets of Cartagena, recalling ancient historical times. Over 10 days, key moments in the history of Spain are staged in outdoor performances: a motion picture production of the city´s refounding; the wedding of Hannibal and Princess Himilce amid mystical dances and divine invocations; the power of Rome represented by the seaborne arrival of its Legions and Circus, a live performance with four-in-hand races; Hannibal´s departure to Italy with his grand army; and the final battle staged outdoors at twilight.
September is also the month of the religious pilgrimages called Romerías, featuring Virgen de la Fuensanta, the patron of Murcia, and Virgen de la Esperanza in Calasparra.
At the end of fall, the prominence of the festivals moves to the north of the region, with the Fiestas de la Purísima in Yecla, amid the thunder of the harquebuses. The Cuadrillas de Ánimas (troupes) and the Campanas de Auroras ("Dawn Bells" music group) announce the beginning of Christmas by singing their carols along orchard roads. Also famous in the Region during these dates are the nativity scene contests, and the big parades on Epiphany Day.