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.
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.References:
The Odeon of Herodes Atticus is a stone theatre structure located on the southwest slope of the Acropolis of Athens. It was built in 161 AD by the Athenian magnate Herodes Atticus in memory of his wife, Aspasia Annia Regilla. It was originally a steep-sloped theater with a three-story stone front wall and a wooden roof made of expensive cedar of Lebanon timber. It was used as a venue for music concerts with a capacity of 5,000. It lasted intact until it was destroyed and left in ruins by the Heruli in 267 AD.
The audience stands and the orchestra (stage) were restored using Pentelic marble in the 1950s. Since then it has been the main venue of the Athens Festival, which runs from May through October each year, featuring a variety of acclaimed Greek as well as International performances.