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Day Out Murcia City
The city of Murcia was founded by the Arabs during the 1st century. Since then, it has been a crossroads for different civilizations and core of the Mediterranean as it occupies an important location on the Rio Segura. The impressive Basilica (Cathedral), which sits opposite the modern Tourist Office, makes a great starting point right in the heart of the city. From here, explore the colourful, lively, little plazas that nestle in between the narrow streets. Murcia has an overwhelming array of museums, art galleries and centres and beautiful historic buildings, so if it is culture that you crave you will certainly enjoy your time here.
Murcia has the largest out of town shopping complex in the area as it consists of two malls and Ikea, not to mention the football stadium of Real Murcia. Parking is free in all car parks, so you can really take your time! The Nueva Condomina mall is set over two floors. It has shops throughout including the hugely popular Primark as well as some small boutique-like outlets. Outside there are many large stores such as the electrical giant Media Markt and the DIY store Leroy Merlin. The Thader Mall also has two stories of much the same stores. The mall is open air in style and has a Ten Pin Bowling Alley. Ikea is just the same as all the other Ikeas! However, apart from weekends, fiestas or rainy days you’ll hardly ever bump trolleys!
There is also the Terra Nature and Aqua Natura Theme Park where you can easily enjoy a whole day out. Terra Natura Park is divided into two areas; African Savannah and the Iberian Peninsula and has over 300 animals and 50 species of trees and plants. Aqua Natura is a water park and has pools and slides for children and adults as well as a lazy river.
The Tourist Office for information about the museums and other places of interest
- Salzillo Museum: holds the most important processional religious images by the world-famous wood carver, Francisco Salzillo, 550 Christmas Crib figures and the platforms bearing groups of life-size Biblical figures, which are carried down the streets on the shoulders of the faithful in the Easter Processions.
- Fine Arts Museum: displays paintings by Spanish artists from the 16th to the 20th century.
- Archaeological Museum: houses a collection of Iberian, Roman, Greek and Moorish artifacts.
- Cathedral Museum: has a great collection of religious art, including sculptures and altarpieces.
- Museo de la Archicofradía de la Sangre: housed in El Carmen Church is an exhibition of the religious sculpture works known as the ‘most precious blood of Christ’.
- City Museum: in Junterones Palace there are interactive displays about the city's 2000 year history.
- San Juande Dios Church Museum: houses a permanent exhibition of religious imagery from the 16th to the 19th centuries including various woodcarvings.
- Museum of the University of Murcia: exhibitions on different subjects like science and art.
- Aquarium of The University Of Murcia: A research facility that has been opened to visitors it has tanks of reefs with corals and fish from the Indian Ocean, the Pacific Ocean, the Red Sea, the Caribbean Sea and of course the Mediterranean and the Mar Menor.
- Ramón Gaya Museum: set in a beautiful mansion, the Palarea house, it holds the works of Ramon Gaya one of the best contemporary Murcian artists.
- Science and Water Museum: with water as its main theme, it also has a children's planetarium, science square and perception modules.
- Bullfighting Museum of Murcia: Founded in 1919, it contains posters, bullfighter's costumes and utensils, it also has a specialist library and video collection.
- Los Molinos del Río Irrigation Museum: displays everything to do with flour milling.
- Almudi Palace Arts Centre: this 18th century building was originally the city’s corn store it now houses two exhibition halls and the towns historical archives.
- Regional Craft Centre: displays work of artisans from all over Murcia, also has items for sale.
- Casino Museum: built in 1847 it boasts of a beautiful library, an enigmatic powder room, a magnificent Arabic Patio and a splendid neo-Baroque dance hall.
- Episcopal Palace: made up of two parts, the ‘bishops view point’ which gives views over the river and the ‘main body’ which looks out onto the cathedral square.
- Romea Theatre building: built on the site of a convent in 1862, it has been burnt down twice, the present day theatre is named after the Murcian actor Julián Romea.
- Rio Segura: a path runs either side of this river through the city centre.
- Walking Routes: There are four self guided walks for different areas of the city all of which are described in the Murcia Square by Square booklet which is available in various languages from the Tourist Office.
Remember that most museums are closed on a Monday and for siesta which is generally 14.00-16.00 in the winter and 14.00-17.00 in the summer.
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