In 1172 Murcia was taken by the Almohades, and from 1223 to 1243 it briefly served as the capital of an independent kingdom. By the treaty of Alcaraz, in 1243, Alfonso X of Castile made Murcia a protectorate, getting access to Mediterrannean sea while Murcia was protected against Granada and Aragon. But the town became rapidly colonized by Christians from almost all parts of the Iberian Peninsula. These Christian populations were brought to the area with the goal of establishing a Christian base here, one that would be loyal to the Crown of Castile and whose culture would supplant that of the subjugated Muslim peoples. During the process of Christianization, many of the city’s mosques were destroyed or converted into Catholic churches.. That is why a revolt spread in 1264-6. In 1296, James II of Aragon conquered the city. In 1304, it was finally incorporated into Castile under the Treaty of Torrellas.
Murcia lost then its prosperity but flourished again in the 18th century, benefiting greatly from a boom in the silk industry. Many of the modern city's landmark churches and monuments date from this period of nascent mercantilism. However, this was to be followed by nearly a century of mishap. In 1810, Murcia was looted by Napoleonic troops; it then suffered a major earthquake in 1829. According to contemporaneous accounts, an estimated 6,000 people died from the disaster's effects across the province. Plague and cholera followed.
The town and surrounding area suffered badly from floods in 1651, 1879, and 1907, though the construction of a levee helped to stave off the repeated floods from the Segura. A popular pedestrian walkway, the Malecon, runs along the top of the levee.
Murcia has been the capital of the province of Murcia since 1838 and, with its creation by the central government in 1982, capital of the autonomous community (which includes only the city and the province).
This ample historical, artistic, architectural and cultural heritage can be contemplated and admired in a diversity of natural settings, in the actual locations where the monuments themselves were erected, or within the thematic spaces provided by the region's complete network of museums. The Region of Murcia is thus likened to a rich printed fabric upon which history has been depicted for our contemplation.
Murcia offers some of the most interesting tapas in the whole of Spain. There are a large number of bars and taverns with truly great tapas. The most popular are in the area around the Plaza de Flores (Flowers Square) and the University area called Santa Eulalia. Rice dishes such as arroz caldero, fish and seafood from the Mar Menor such as lobster are unique and an absolutely essential gastronomic experience. There are many other Murcian dishes that have become popular throughout Spain. The zarangollo, bean omelette, the michirones, the olla gitana and the arroz with habichuelas, rabbit, potatoes in garlic known as al ajo cabañil. For desserts try the exellent paparajotes - lemon leaves fried in crispy batter and dusted in sugar and cinammon.
- The Cathedral of Santa Maria. or The Cathedral of Murcia was built between 1394 and 1465 in the Castilian Gothic style. Its tower was completed in 1792 and shows a blend of architectural styles. The first two stories were built in the Renaissance style (1521–1546), while the third is Baroque. The bell pavilion exhibits both Rococo and Neoclassical influences. The main façade (1736–1754) is considered a masterpiece of the Spanish Baroque style.
- The Bishop's Palace. or the Episcopal Palace rises up next to the majestic front of the cathedral. It is said that bishop Mateo decided he wanted a residence from which he could contemplate the newly finished facade of the cathedral, leading to the construction of his square palace.It is another of the high points of the 18th century in Murcia. Several expert stone masons from other cathedrals collaborated in its construction.
- The Monastery of Santa Clara. The museum comprises the Santa Clara enclosed convent and the archaeological and architectural remains of old royal palaces, both Moorish and Christian. Highlights include the courtyard and the decoration of the arches. Inside there is a section of art and archaeology from the time of Al-Andalus, and another of religious art. The first features an array of ceramics and utensils from different periods of Islam in Andalusia. The second has many examples of religious art and illustrates the history of the religious community of the Santa Clara convent.
- The Salzillo Museum. Dedicated to the famous sculptor Francisco Salzillo, born in 1707, the museum has various different rooms where you can see large sculptures created by the artist for the Easter week processions.They are property of the the Nuestro Padre Jesús Nazareno brotherhood. The Salzillo Crib is also on display: this is an exquisitely delicate work, comprising more than 500 pieces, which evokes rural Murcia of the period.
- The Puente de los Peligros (Spanish for bridge of the hazards) or also known as the Puente Viejo (Spanish for old bridge) is an arched stone bridge, completed in 1742, that spans the River Segura. On 10 September 1718 the first stone of the bridge was laid. The construction stalled many times but resumed in 1739 and this time works would not stop until their completion in 1742. On September 12, 1742 a wooden statue of Our Lady of the hazards, from which the bridge is named after, was placed on the bridge. The neoclassicalniche would be built on the right bank later on. Statues of Saint Michael and Saint Raphael, works of Joaquín Laguna, were also placed on the bridge starlings. In 1850, the bridge was widened to make room for two sidewalks through a metal structure attached to the stalls. This meant the removal of the decorative elements placed on the starlings. This first extension was insufficient and in 1867 the bridge was further widened with a new metal structure, setting the layout of the bridge as it can be seen today.