The south-eastern Spanish city of Murcia is a dream destination for culture vultures. Marvel at monstrous landmarks ornamented with gothic, Baroque detail and explore the history of the seventh largest city in Spain – here’s our guide to the best museums in Murcia.
Open since 1867, the museum of fine arts showcases works from the 15th century onwards. The museum building itself is the creation of architect Pedro Cerdan and admission is free for visitors. Placing heavy emphasis on local Murcia artists, the exhibitions feature an abundance of historical paintings referencing the Renaissance and Golden Age periods. If you’re an art lover, this is the perfect place to lose yourself for a few for hours!
Tucked away in the famous Cathedral of Murcia’s cloisters, sits a museum dedicated to religious artwork and archaeological remains. Known as Sala Capitular, the cloisters date back to the 1300s and are built to the design of the 14th century Gothic era. Offering free admission, expect a large collection of pieces from different artistic periods as well as the piece de resistance, an impressive altar by Bernabe de Modena .
This next museum to add to your list of what to see in Murcia, shares its location with the Clarisas nuns in the monastery of Santa Clara la Real. Originally founded on the Islamic-Mudejar palace of the Emir of Murcia, Ibh Hud, the monastery museum houses art and archaeology from centuries of different cultures. Showcasing genres such as Islamic, Gothic, Baroque and the time of Al-Andalus, the space is free to visit and walk around. Some of the main highlights being the detailed arches and courtyard, this is well worth a trip as it’s also home to one of the oldest Arabic pools in Spain.
The Museum of Science and Water opened in 1996 with the aim of making scientific education popular amongst young people. Promoting learning in a fun and exciting way, the museum is divided into four components and spaces that break down various aspects of exploration. The first room, Temporary Hall, is the museum’s exhibition space whereby they host interactive demonstrations on different topics using new technology. Next, the Water Hall is a space for visitors to really understand the relationship between water and other element with various talks on the responsible use of water resources. The Discover and Imagine hall is aimed at three to seven year olds while the Planetarium and its multimedia dome, is something for all ages. This museum charges a small admission fee but is a great interactive day out for everyone!
Home to one of Spain’s most complete collections of Iberian archaeology, the Archaeological Museum hosts permanent and temporary displays year round with no admission fee. Exhibiting local prehistoric finds dating from the Palaeolithic era until the Bronze Age, the museum spans over two floors and 16 rooms. Aiming to present the pre-historic occupation of the modern-day Murcia region, this museum offers an interesting combination of Arabic and Christian history.
Dedicated to highlighting the work of 18th century Murcia’s native Baroque sculptor, Francisco Salzillo, Museo Salzillo comprises several large rooms featuring his greatest sculptures that were created for the Easter week processions. Celebrated in Murcia as possibly the most important artist in the Baroque genre, his nativity scene is the focal point of the exhibition. The traditional nativity scene, known as a belén in Spanish culture, features 556 individual pieces and is believed to be the finest of its kind in the country. The museum is set out in a logical fashion following the developments of the sculptor’s career. This one does charge an admission fee but is worth seeing if you’re at all interested in delving deeper into Murcia’s history.
Traditionally used for storing grain, the Palacio Alumdí is an imposing building with its main structure dating back to the 17th century. Nowadays the posito or then grain store has been transformed into a columned exhibition space regularly showcasing different genres of art. A good one to add to your list of what museums to see in Murcia if you fancy ducking out of the midday sun.
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Flights to Murcia
- Lucy Norris