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ABOUT THE REGION > DESTINATIONS AND LOCALITIES > CITY DESTINATIONS > CARAVACA DE LA CRUZ

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CARAVACA DE LA CRUZ

Caravaca de La Cruz is considered to be one of the five holy cities in the world, and a key destination for pilgrims and travellers alike who are looking for an inspiring, different and above all enjoyable place to go.
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PILGRIMAGE
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SPECTACULAR FESTIVALS
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CUADRILLAS DE BARRANDA FESTIVAL
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A CHARMING SPOT
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THE TRAIL OF ORIGINS
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MUSEUMS
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THE PILLARS OF THE EARTH
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LA VÍA VERDE (THE GREEN PATHWAY)
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MEDIEVAL MARKET
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A 10/10 GASTRONOMY
PILGRIMAGE
Don't leave until tomorrow what you could visit on a pilgrimage today. It's not every day you're lucky enough to visit one of the five cities in the world that celebrates the Jubileo Perpetuo. Caravaca's Basilica holds the Santísima and the Vera Cruz, worshiped since the 13th Century, which hold fragments of the cross upon which Christ died on inside. This is one of those special places where travellers come to from all over the world with an atmosphere worth experiencing at least once in a lifetime. If you want an even more profound experience, we would suggest El Camino de Vera Cruz, an old route stretching nearly 900km long full of idyllic settings, sentiments and magic that links Camino de Santiago, set at the heights of Roncesvalles, with the Vera Cruz shrine in Murcia. Once there, you will find everything signposted to help you.
SPECTACULAR FESTIVALS
If you're a party person, there are dates and places that you just cannot miss. The patronal festivals of Caravaca de la Cruz, declared of International Tourist Interest, are celebrated from the first until the fifth of May. The two highlights include Moros y Cristianos, and the Caballos Del Vino, which attracts thousands of people and whose spectacular sight exceeds all known limits. You need only watch the thundering horse race down the castle slope for this to be proven. If you don't want to stand out, don't forget to wear a red neck-scarf.
CUADRILLAS DE BARRANDA FESTIVAL
They say that in the small village of Barranda you will find the oldest tradition of folk music in the country, and this is demonstrated on the last Sunday of every January during La Fiesta de las Cuadrillas. Declared a festival of National Tourist Interest, this classic event between all the popular music festivals is capable of gathering thousands of people out onto the streets, turning the town into a huge outdoor stage in which singers, musicians and dancers show off their talent whilst, as always, accompanied by great food and wine.
A CHARMING SPOT
Located a little more than two kilometres from the inner city of Caravaca, one of the prettiest spots in the region awaits you, the Fuentes del Marqués. Here you will find natural springs of pure water, lots of wildlife and an undeniable charm to help you unwind. There is also an old Torreón Templario which according to legends served as an outpost to defend against the Muslims in the Middle Ages, and which now houses the Centro de Interpretación de la Naturaleza.
THE TRAIL OF ORIGINS
The first remains of Caravaca's settlements date back to the Palaeolithic era. From then on and up until now, many archaeology sites still serve as a testimony to Caravaca's past. Out of all of them, the must-see is the Archaeological Complex of La Encarnación, which holds prehistoric, Iberian, Roman and Medieval remains - a paradise for archaeology lovers.
MUSEUMS
At this rate, we suggest you have a break from all that walking and go visit one of the city's museums. One of the most original is the Música Étnica de Barranda Museum, where around 1,000 musical instruments from all eras and continents are exhibited. Located in a district with less than 900 inhabitants and built upon the remains of a 14th Century flour mill, this museum would be enjoyable in any capital city in the world. Other recommended stops are the Vera Cruz Museum, the Archaeological Museum, the Fiesta Museum, the Carrilero Museum and the Ángel Reinón Miniature Museum.
THE PILLARS OF THE EARTH
Caravaca has some of the best religious architecture in the whole Region of Murcia. A fabulous network of churches, convents and other places of worship form almost a labyrinth in which it would be easy to lose yourself... although to get lost in these narrow streets, plateaus and dead-end alleys would not be too bad. The Iglesia de la Soledad, the Iglesia del Salvador, the Iglesia de la Compañía de Jesús, the Templete, the Santa Clara monastery, the Santa Elena, San Sebastian, Reja chapels and the magnificent Santísima and Vera Cruz Basilica are all must-sees.
LA VÍA VERDE (THE GREEN PATHWAY)
If you like trekking or biking then we have good news for you. Here can also be found the former railway track that joined Caravaca with Murcia and is now more commonly known as Vía Verde, which everyone can enjoy. You will find a 78 km long natural walkway with 7 hostels along the way in case you need a rest or any refreshments. Caravaca also has a large number of smaller walking trails, Eco tourist pathways and diverse pilgrimage routes that that all join up here from different places all across Spain and the Region of Murcia. Are you ready to go?
MEDIEVAL MARKET
A must see for curious treasure seekers. On the third Sunday of each month the Peregrino Market is held, the best place to buy hand crafted and typical products of the area. If you're still looking for more, during La Constitución public holiday, a huge area of the old town is transformed and crowds of craftsmen come out onto the street to show off the fruits of their work, whilst demonstrations, food tasting, and fun performances take place for both the young and old.
A 10/10 GASTRONOMY
In this neck of the woods, you'll find typical dishes such as migas ruleras, stews and tartera, a lamb and potato roast accompanied by an aioli sauce. You'll also find an ample variety of typical rice dishes with rabbit, chicken, chickpeas, snails or cod. In terms of confectionary, it would be a real shame if you left without trying alfajor or the incredibly famous yemas -egg-yolk based sweets made with sugar, and smothered in caramel or chocolate. Even in the most holy of cities there's still room for temptation - they are just scrumptious! To digest all this food, guests traditionally try the house drinks such as la mistela and the licor café.
Caravaca de la Cruz is a town located on the border of Murcia and Granada. The Iberians, Romans and Muslims all passed through this town, which has developed around its Castle, built in the 15th century and commissioned by the Knights Templar. However, Caravaca is essentially the holy town, the town of the cross that carries its name. According to legend, in 1232 the Moorish King Abu Zeid was converted to Christianity when he saw how two angels brought a cross down from heaven to a priest held prisoner in the castle in order for him to give mass. This legend led to the construction, as from 1617 and on the site of the fortress itself, of the main monument of this town in the north-east of Murcia, the Chapel of La Vera Cruz. The most important feature of this building is its luxurious façade, made from red marble excavated in Cehegín and which offers a complete exaltation to the Holy Cross.

Caravaca de la Cruz, Holy Town. In 1998 the Pope awarded Caravaca de la Cruz the Jubilee Year, making this town the fifth in the world, together with four other cities (Santiago de Compostela, Santo Toribio de Liébana, Roma and Jerusalem), to be allowed to celebrate the Perpetual Jubilee. This means that the Holy See allows the town to celebrate the Holy Year every seven years in perpetuum at the Chapel of La Vera Cruz, the next Jubilee Year at Caravaca de la Cruz being the year 2017. However this Chapel, which also has an interesting Holy Art and History Museum, is not the only religious monument in Caravaca. There are interesting 16th century churches, such as: La Soledad, today converted into an Archaeological Museum; El Salvador, considered to be the most representative work of the Murcian Renaissance; La Purísima; and the Convent of the Carmelites. In terms of civil government, it is worth highlighting the Town Hall building, which dates from the 18th century.
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Despite its small size, another very important monument in Caravaca is the Temple of the Holy Cross, where the relic is bathed each year on 3 May during the celebration of the popular Festivities of The Holy Cross. Another popular "fiesta" is los Caballos del Vino (Wine horses), in commemoration of a tradition that took place in the 13th century. On that date, the Christian besieged in the fortress by the Arabs managed to break the siege and search for water. When they failed to find any water, they returned to the fortress with the wineskins on their horses filled with wine. The commemoration consists in decoratively harnessed horses galloping up the steep slopes to the Castle. Together with the Moor and Christian processions, these are the main events in the festive calendar of Caravaca. The Uribe Palace (16th century) holds the Festivals Museum where you will be able to live them in first person.

Caravaca is also in a privileged position in terms of rural tourism, with a wide range of activities from hill walking to horse riding, giving the visitor the opportunity to come into closer contact with nature.

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IN CARAVACA DE LA CRUZ

THE WEATHER IN CARAVACA DE LA CRUZ
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© AEMET - Información elaborada por la Agencia Estatal de Meteorología. Ministerio de Agricultura, Alimentación y Medio Ambiente para más información haga clic aquí
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