Calasparra has a population of 9,700. Between 2004 and 2006 more than 2,000 British immigrants bought new homes off-plan, built on 3 new urbanisations surrounding the town, with more purchasing country homes.
Calasparra is situated in a mountainous region (400m) in the northwest of the province of Murcia. In contrast to the surrounding arid terrain, Calasparra benefits from being crossed by four rivers, including the Segura. This has enabled the cultivation of Calasparra rice, for which the town is noted, and dates back to the 14th century.
Calasparra market is held on the 3rd Sunday of every month in the morning at the Santuario Nuestra Senora de la Esperarza and is known as the ‘La Esperanza’ Craft Market.
The nearby Santuario Virgen de la Esperanza is a very religious cave sanctuary with its amazing river gardens. The sanctuary is situated in a cave carved into the rock 6 km away from the town of Calasparra. The first information about it dates from the17th century.
Two statues of Our Lady of Hope known as La Pequeñica (the Tiny One) and La Grande (the Big One) are kept in this sanctuary. According to the legend, the small statue was found by a shepherd who sheltered his cattle in this cave sculpted by the river Segura. The local people of the village tried to move the statue to the town of Calasparra but, due to its weight, they understood that the Virgin prefered to be venerated in this cave.
The reason why and the date when the bigger statue of La Virgen de la Esperanza appeared remain unknown. In the year 1786, they were already both venerated.
Find out more about the surrounding region on the Murcia tourist information page.
Also on the Calasparra tourist page.