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Caravaca de la Cruz, Holy City

The capital of the north-west of the Region of Murcia is Caravaca de la Cruz, one of
the five cities in the world entitled to celebrate a Permanent Holy Jubilee Year, a
privilege shared only by Jerusalem, Rome, Santiago de Compostela and Santo
Toribio de Liébana.

Since ancient times, pilgrims in their multitudes have come to Caravaca to venerate
the holy relic that gives it its name. The Most Holy and True Cross of Caravaca
is a double armed reliquary in which a Lignum Crucis – a fragment of the cross
upon which Christ was crucified – is kept.The city has played host to many pilgrims over recent years and now has a comprehensive network of infrastructure to meet the needs of the visitors who come here each year.

The most emblematic site in Caravaca is the Vera Cruz Basilica; an exceptional
historical monument surrounded by walls of Islamic origin that were fortified by the
Knights Templar in the 13th century. Within the Basilica there are numerous
symbolical and historical references to the apparition and the traditional Chaplain’s
House is now the Museum of the True Cross.
One of the city’s main nerve centres is the Plaza del Arco, a square where the
Baroque Town Hall and sculptures dedicated to Moors and Christians are found. A
visit to the city might finish at the unusual Bullring with its marvellous neo-
Mudéjar façade.

There are also several interesting options for visitors in the outskirts of the city.
Just 2km from the city centre, a natural spring brings the countryside to life at
Fuentes del Marqués. Very close by, an old Templars’ Tower houses a Nature
Interpretation Centre. In the same area, the craggy massifs of the north-west
offer ideal territory for horse-riding on the slopes of the Sierra del Gavilán or the
opportunity to visit the Estrecho de La Encarnación, where the remains of one of
Spain’s oldest Roman temples have been found.

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