Alguazas means "in the middle of", which is logical as this town is half-way between the two rivers, the Segura and the Mula
Exterior iglesia de Alguazas
Alguazas means "in the middle of", which is logical as this town is half-way between the two rivers, the Segura and the Mula. This place was already inhabited in the Bronze Age as archaeological deposits found there can demonstrate, although the name Alguazas does not appear in written records until the 13th century, when Alphonse X the Wise gives said estate to his wife, Queen Violante.
The town later belonged to the diocese of Cartagena. During this period the estate took on greater importance and Bishop Peñaranda began the restoration of its fortress, which served as a place of refuge for several bishops, and which also served as a church prison and a military base. The bishop Diego de Comontes, with the help of the king, confronted the Council of Murcia, but in his absence, King Chico of Granada, with a large army, looted and razed the town to the ground, taking its inhabitants with him, after which a period of repopulation began, and not for the first nor the last time. Such a repopulation was carried out with the Mudejars, who were experts in agriculture, the main source of wealth for the area. The irrigation of the market gardens and orchards was carried out with water brought from Archena via an irrigation canal.
In the 16th century the inhabitants were converted to Catholicism, and its jurisdiction was shared by a bishop and a council as well as a mayor who was appointed by both parties. In addition a church was built in honour of the patron saint, Saint Onofre. Later on in 1590, after its disentailment, Alguazas gained self rule. During the 17th and 18th centuries the history of Alguazas is similar to that of its neighbouring towns, with the expulsion of the Moors, numerous disputes with neighbouring towns and villages, epidemics and many mishaps during the War of Independence and so on up to present times in which the people of Alguazas have developed an important canning industry to facilitate the exportation of their wealth of fruit and vegetables.
The tourist who comes to Alguazas should not miss the Torre de los Moros (Tower of the Moors) or that of the Bishop, which dates from the 12th century and has an Almohad origin. It was built on top of an Islamic cemetery which is still preserved in the area of the Old Tower. Likewise, the parish church of St. Onofre contains beautiful Mudejar panelling from the 16th century and a marvellous Baroque style pipe organ.