Caravaca de la Cruz (or simply and more commonly Caravaca) is a town in the region of Murcia, near the left bank of the River Argos, a tributary of the Segura.
This city is the capital of the northwest Region of Murcia. It has a population of 26,449 inhabitants.
Caravaca has been given the title of a Holy City by the Vatican, a title that it shares with only four other cities in the world including Jerusalem, Rome, Santiago de Compostella and Santo Toribio de Liebana. Because of this it has become a tourist magnet with many things to see and do.
The True Cross of Caravaca: the Lignum Crucis or Vera Cruz is a two armed cross that contains a fragment of the cross on which Jesus was crucified. The legend says that whilst the town was under Moorish rule the chieftain decided that he wanted to witness a Christian mass, so ordered a priest to say mass. The priest declined as there were no crosses available and the chieftain became mad, then two angels appeared with the two armed cross, on seeing this the chieftain converted religion.
Caravaca is dominated by the medieval Castle of Santa Cruz, and contains several convents and a fine parish church, with a miraculous cross celebrated for its healing power, in honour of which a yearly festival is held on 3 May. Caravaca is home to many monuments and museums, many of which are important tourist attractions. There are many restaurants, bars and coffee bars to enjoy in the little streets, plus a market once a month.
Besides being known by the Christian relic, it also has a festival in honour of it, held between 1 and 5 May of each year, declared of International Tourist Interest in 2004.
The Via Verde cycling and walking route which follows the old Murcia to Caravaca railway line, is situated close to this town.
Find out more about the surrounding region on the Murcia tourist information page.