Caravaca de la Cruz, in the North-west of the Region of Murcia, is one of only 5 Holy Cities in the World, a centre of Pilgrimage, along with Rome, Jerusalem, Santiago de Compostela and Santo Toribio de Liebana, home to the Cross of Caravaca, the Vera Cruz..
The status of Holy City was bestowed by Pope John Paul II in 1998, granting the City a Permanent Jubilee year every 7 years for perpetuity, the first one held in 2003, the next one in 2017.
The strategic and natural advantages of Caravaca de la Cruz have attracted the attention of settlers for more than 800,000 years, the Cueva Negra yielding remains of Homo Heidelbergensis, forbears of the Neanderthals and the municipality also houses important archaeological remains from the Argaric, Iberian and Roman cultures.
As a border town caught between the Catholic forces of Castille and the last remaining Moorish stronghold in Spain, Granada, Caravaca had a turbulent Mediaeval history, but it was during this period that the legend of the Cross of Caravaca was born, bringing the religious orders which shaped the structure of Caravaca today, with it's impressive hilltop castle and eclectic collection of churches and monasteries, religious tourism today being a backbone of the town´s economy.
Caravaca de la Cruz is a municipality with important natural resources, including extensive forests, part of which have protected status due to their wealth of flora and fauna, and due to the abundant water supplies is also a major area for canned fruit production, apricots in particular, being an important crop.
Caravaca is renown for it´s important May Fiestas, held in honour of the Vera Cruz, which also incorporate the Moors and Christians celebrations and the Running of the Wine Horses.
Caravaca de la Cruz is also the home of Europe´s largest collection of ethnic instruments at Barranda, the Museo de Música Étnica Barranda and is the location of the Barranda festival de Cuadrillas, which celebrates the Region's ethnic music traditions.
The municipality is home to around 26,000 inhabitants and borders with Moratalla, Cehegín, Lorca, Granada and Almería.
Click for map, Caravaca de la Cruz