Region of Murcia

The Region of Murcia (/ˈmʊərsiə/, US also /ˈmɜːrʃ(i)ə/; Spanish: Región de Murcia [reˈxjon de ˈmuɾθja]), is an autonomous community of Spain located in the southeastern part of the Iberian Peninsula, on the Mediterranean coast. The region is 11,313 km2 (4,368 sq mi) in area and had a population of 1,511,251 as at the start of 2020. About one-third of its population lives in the capital, Murcia. At 2,014 m (6,608 ft), the region’s highest point is Los Obispos Peak in the Massif of Revolcadores [es].

A jurisdiction of the Crown of Castile since the middle ages, the Kingdom of Murcia was replaced in the 19th century by territory primarily belonging to the provinces of Albacete and Murcia (and subsidiarily to those of Jaén and Alicante). The former two were henceforth attached to a ‘historical region’ also named after Murcia. The province of Murcia constituted as the full-fledged single-province autonomous community of the Region of Murcia in 1982.

The region is bordered by Andalusia (the provinces of Almería and Granada), Castile La Mancha (the province of Albacete), the Valencian Community (province of Alicante), and the Mediterranean Sea. The autonomous community is a single province. The city of Murcia is the capital of the region and the seat of the regional government, but the legislature, known as the Regional Assembly of Murcia, is located in Cartagena. The region is subdivided into municipalities.

The region is among Europe’s largest producers of fruits, vegetables, and flowers, with important vineyards in the municipalities of Jumilla, Bullas, and Yecla that produce wines of Denominación de origen. It also has an important tourism sector concentrated on its Mediterranean coastline, which features the Mar Menor saltwater lagoon. Industries include the petrochemical and energy sector (centered in Cartagena) and food production. Because of Murcia’s warm climate, the region’s long growing season is suitable for agriculture; however, rainfall is low. As a result, in addition to the water needed for crops, there are increasing pressures related to the booming tourist industry. Water is supplied by the Segura River and, since the 1970s, by the Tagus-Segura Water Transfer, a major civil-engineering project that brings water from the Tagus River into the Segura under environmental and sustainability restraints.

Notable features of the region’s extensive cultural heritage include 72 cave art ensembles, which are part of the rock art of the Iberian Mediterranean Basin, a World Heritage Site. Other culturally significant features include the Council of Wise Men of the plain of Murcia and the tamboradas (drumming processions) of Moratalla and Mula, which were declared intangible cultural heritage by UNESCO. The region is also the home of Caravaca de la Cruz, a holy city in the Catholic Church that celebrates the Perpetual Jubilee every seven years in the Santuario de la Vera Cruz.

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