Murcia Cathedral

Murcia, Spain

The Cathedral Church of Saint Mary in Murcia is the cathedral of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Cartagena. The Christian king Jaime I the Conqueror conquered the city during the Mudéjar revolt of 1264–66. Despite an existing pact with the Muslims of the city that prevented the destruction of any mosque, Jaime I took the Great Mosque or Aljamía to consecrate it to the Virgin Mary; a custom he put in place when he conquered any settlement. However, it was not until the 14th century that construction of the cathedral would begin. In 1385 work on the foundations started and in 1388 the first stone was laid. Another six years passed until constructions upwards continued; the cathedral would be finished in October 1467. Nevertheless, the cathedral continued to evolve until the 18th century, demonstrating a variety of artistic styles.

The interior is largely Gothic in style; the facade is Baroque and it was designed by the Valencian architect and sculptor Jaume Bort i Meliá.

The heart and the entrails of King Alfonso X the Wise are buried under the main altar of the cathedral, as he indicated in his testament, as a gift and proof of his love to Murcia and in thanks to the fidelity that the city showed to him.

In 1854 the Cathedral suffered a terrible fire that destroyed the High Altar and the choir stalls. The repair works consisted in the creation of a new neo-Gothic altarpiece (work of the sculptors Pescador and Palao), and the commission of a majestic organ, undertaken by the Belgian firm Merklin-Schütze. Under the organ 16th-century plateresque chairs from the Monastery of Santa Maria de Valdeiglesias were installed, a donation made by Queen Isabel II to the Cathedral.

Bell tower

The bell tower, built between 1521 and 1791, stands 90 metres tall. It is the tallest campanile in Spain. It ascends in five levels of different widths. The tower also combines a variety of styles.

The first level, made by Francisco and Jacobo Florentino, has a square plant with Renaissance style and ornamentation influenced by the Hispanic Plateresque.The second body, made by Jerónimo Quijano, has the same style but it is more purist.The third floor, with Baroque style, has the body with Rococó style and the cupola, drawn up by Ventura Rodríguez, with Neoclassic style.In the fourth floor, there are four conjuratories. Located in each corner, special ceremonies were conducted in them by priests to ward off storms by means of the Lignum Crucis.

There are twenty-five bells, all from the 17th century and the 18th century. The bells have served to warn the population about the catastrophic floods of the Segura River, wars, celebrations, and festivities. The oldest bell (14th century), la Campana Mora (the moor bell), is kept in the Museum of the Cathedral of Murcia.


The interior is mainly Gothic. It is made up of three naves with an apse and twenty-three chapels. The chapels are dedicated to the patron saints of the labour unions and to the burials of the bishops and nobles that helped or collaborated with the construction of the cathedral. The Chapel of Junterones is one of the great works of the Spanish Renaissance. The Plateresque chairs of the choir, post-choir, and the portal of the sacristy, are also of note.



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Calle Oliver 0, Murcia, Spain
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Founded: 1385
Category: Religious sites in Spain


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User Reviews

Sandra Clueit (6 months ago)
It's well worth a visit. The cathedral is breathtakingly beautiful, stunning, and an experience you will never forget. I am going back to visit the cathedral again because one visit isn't enough. There is so much to see. You can't go to Murcia and not visit the Cathedral.
Marcus Hurley (7 months ago)
We visited Murcia Cathedral at the weekend, our first visit to the city. There is plenty of parking and the underground car park is about 5 minutes walk from the cathedral. The building is magnificent and is covered in wonderful medieval stonework. It is a mix of styles with the tower being a far newer eighteenth century baroque construction and the main building is fourteenth century gothic. The interior is vast and has the usual mix of wonderful carvings with very gaudy decoration in red and gold. We didn't spend as long as we'd have liked inside as it was a Sunday and we didn't want to intrude but it is certainly somewhere we'll return to.
Dave Jacks (9 months ago)
Beautiful building. Lovely along the river too. Take some bread for the ducks!
Kaye Majik (10 months ago)
Wow ! I have no words , the cathedral is absolutely stunning , Morning mass in service , So very peaceful. Take your time to take everything in. Beautiful.. There is a museum within the church, €4 entry fee. Well worth a visit
Michele Jones (14 months ago)
Beautiful cathedral. Well worth visiting this huge building which is the centre piece of Murcia city. Stunning architecture. Inside there are several small chapels all the way round the walls. And a grand alter at the front. We had the pleasure of seeing a service the week before Easter. The building is awe inspiring.
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