Murcia is a busy commercial center with a charming old quarter, plenty of tapas bars, and a lively cultural scene. A particular highlight on the calendar is the Holy Week processions, rated as among the best in Spain and the only ones to present gifts and sweets to spectators.
A provincial capital and university town of nearly 440,000, Murcia was first settled by Romans. Later, in the 8th century, the conquering Moors used Roman bricks to build the city proper. The result was reconquered and annexed to the crown of Castile in 1243. The Murcian dialect contains many Arabic words, and many Murcians have Moorish ancestry.