As well as being famous for its wines, Jumilla is also home to many other treasures that are well worth discovering. Centuries ago, the town was famous for being a geographical and cultural crossroads and, as such, you will find historical and artistic vestiges of all the Mediterranean civilizations. It is not without reason that this is a prosperous area full of contrasts, which the Arabs called 'the beautiful'. Thanks to its monuments, museums and other visitor and cultural attractions, in 1981 the town was declared a site of historical and artistic interest.
The El Salvador Church is one of the great symbols of Jumilla. Its façade is in the Murcian Baroque style, flanked by two ashlar and brick towers. This magnificent temple is home to the 18th Century image of Christ of Good Health, which is brought out in procession on Good Friday.
Also located in the centre is the Vico Theatre.Following refurbishment in 1991, today the building combines its original appearance with more modern facilities and resources, offering a wide-ranging selection of plays and shows.
Another of the highlights of Jumilla's urban landscape is the Casa Modernista -Modernist House-. Popularly known as "Doña Pepita", its enclosed balcony and the wrought-iron grilles that adorn its façade are particularly striking. From here, visitors can go on to the Town Hall and admire its regal wrought-iron balcony or wander around its picturesque courtyard, and to the Municipal Museum of Ethnography and Natural Sciences, with its extensive display of traditional crafts (esparto, earthenware, glass) and major collection of minerals from around the world, fossils and prehistoric animal prints.
The route will continue to delight visitors with the architectural wealth of this beautiful town with the Casa del Artesano craft centre where, as well as buying all manner of crafts, you can also discover some interesting facets of this generous land, and the "Pérez de los Cobos" mansion, the only example of private Renaissance architecture in the Region of Murcia.
But if you really want to find out about the city's history, there is no better way than taking a stroll around the Plaza de Arriba and immersing yourself in its most deep-rooted traditions. This symbolic area is home to the San José Chapel, another example of Murcian Baroque architecture; the old Inn; and the Council Palace and Exchange building. Following refurbishment in the late 90s, the building reopened as the Jerónimo Molina Archaeological Museum, housing a large collection of material and relics from the Palaeolithic and Iberian period through until Roman times.
From this square, visitors can continue along their way to the Main Parish Church of Santiago, another of the great symbols of this town. Late Gothic in style, it houses a magnificent 16th Century altarpiece, representing St. James the Apostle's pilgrimage to the Iberian Peninsula.
Other highlights include the San Antón Chapel, Santa Ana del Monte Monastery and San Roque Chapel, better known as the Granada Gate, which in centuries past provided access to the town. Worthy of separate mention is the San Agustín Chapel, which is home to the image of the town's patron, Our Lady of the Assumption.
By this point, visitors will probably already have heard of El Casón, a late Roman mausoleum that was declared a National Monument in 1931. It is well worth visiting as it is the best-preserved funerary monument from the period in Spain and one of the best in Europe.
Jumilla's present is also closely linked to its Moorish past. Palpable evidence of this can be found in the town's oldest street, the Callejón del Fiscal. Built between the 12th and 13th century, it finishes at the Santa María del Arrabal Parish Church, which was built upon an Islamic necropolis in 1430.
In the distance, at the top of the town, you can see Jumilla Castle, an ancient fortress and Muslim alcazar which, even today, seems to watch over the town. In 1461, the Marquis of Villena had the Keep built, as we know it today, with its three storeys, basement and terrace, emblazoning it with his coat of arms. The Castle has recently been restored and now houses several exhibition galleries. To get to the castle, you have to take the Camino del Subidor, a spectacular viewpoint that will treat you to unrivalled panoramic views of this emblematic enclave.
Complementing and completing this extraordinary artistic heritage, marked by museums, heraldic streets and archaeological remains, are two very special gardens that are very dear to the local people: the "La Estacada" Botanical Garden, which features more than 150 species of ornamental trees, shrubs and other native plant species; and the Rey Don Pedro Garden, whose centuries-old pine trees invite visitors to spend an enjoyable day in their shade. Another local highlight here is the Paseo Poeta Lorenzo Guardiola, an avenue running from the Plaza Rey Don Pedro to the railway station, which is sure to pleasantly surprise walkers.