Orihuela is a city in the Alicante province of the Valencian Community in southeast Spain. To the northeast of Murcia city, on the fertile Vega (flat lowland) del Segura, you’ll find the town of Orihuela. The ancient city of Orcelis was later renamed by the Romans.
It was occupied by the Moors in 713 and freed by the Christians in 1264. During the upheavals that began Charles I’s (Charles V of the Holy Roman Empire) reign in 1520 and again during the War of the Spanish Succession (1706), it was destroyed.
Orihuela has been hit by multiple virus pandemics, an earthquake in 1829, and frequent flooding from the Segura River.
The Segura divides the city into a historic section to the north and a new section to the south. There is a 14th-century cathedral, a Church of Santiago (originally a mosque but restored in the 18th century), a Church of Santas Justa y Rufina erected in the 14th century but with a facade from the 18th, and the former University of Santo Domingo, the College of Santo Domingo (1516-1701). A diocesan museum of religious art is also available.
The Moors left behind a wonderful irrigation system, which has greatly benefited local agriculture. Oranges, lemons, potatoes, pepper, hemp, cotton, oats, wheat, almonds, and dates are among the most important crops.
Orihuela is well-known for its ancient shoe and textile industries, as well as its beautiful carnations. However, services constitute the backbone of the modern city’s economy. An estimated 80,468 people live in the metropolitan area as of 2007.
Top 7 Attractions in Orihuela City in Spain
Here’s a rundown of some of Orihuela’s best attractions that you must visit on your trip to the city:
- Miguel Hernandez House and Museum
- The Salvador and Santa Maria Cathedral
- The Parish Church of Santa Justa and Rufina
- Segura River
- Castillo de Orihuela
- Beaches of Orihuela
- The Palm Groves of Orihuela (Palmeral de Orihuela)
1. Miguel Hernandez House and Museum
Miguel Hernandez (1910-1942), one of the most celebrated and revered poets of the Spanish language, was born in Orihuela. The small house where he spent his childhood is now a museum devoted to his life and work, and the many museums are now one of Orihuela’s best attractions.
The home has been kept so that visitors may examine portraits, furnishings, and other items that were important to this poetry genius during his lifetime.
You might imagine the young poet finding inspiration in the tranquility of his walled garden despite the fact that his life wasn’t easy in general.
He was born into a poor farming family, and his poetry reflects his love of nature and the isolation he experienced while working.
Hernandez was an anti-fascist who was jailed many times during the Civil War and ultimately died in prison from disease.
His most famous poem, “Onion Lullaby,” was composed in response to a letter from his wife, in which she described his jail diet of bread and onions.
2. The Salvador and Santa Maria Cathedral
Originally constructed as a church in the 14th century and then transformed into a cathedral in the 16th, the majestic Orihuela Cathedral was constructed on the site of a prematurely Moorish mosque.
That spot is currently protected as a historical landmark.
The Gothic building may look unremarkable from the outside, but the interior is quite breathtaking.
The opulence is increased by the towering bell tower, the Baroque organ from the 18th century, and the enormous, dark Renaissance and Valencian paintings that cover most of the walls.
Velazquez’s “The Temptation of Saint Thomas Aquinas” is a masterpiece that deserves to be admired.
Also included are textiles, manuscripts, and early printed books like “The Nuremberg Chronicle” (1493) and “The Enthroned Virgin,” both of which date back to the Middle Ages.
3. The Parish Church of Santa Justa and Rufina
A church dedicated to the city’s patron saints, Justa and Rufina, and constructed on the place of a mosque.
Their deaths occurred about the time that Christians retook power from the Muslims.
There are Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque details throughout the church. The clock in the incredibly slim bell tower is said to be the oldest in the Valencia area, having been built sometime around the 15th century.
Visit the exhibition ‘La Luz de la Imagen’ (The Light of Images) to see sculptures of legendary monsters and drains in the shape of gargoyles.
4. Segura River
Orihuela is given its own vibe by the River Segura, which winds its way through the city. This magnificent river is the symbol of the city and one of Orihuela’s best attractions.
The river rises in the Andalusian province of Jaen and flows southeast through a number of cities before emptying into the Mediterranean Sea close to the Costa Blanca resort of Guardamar del Segura.
Walkways for pedestrians line both banks of the river, making it easy to get from one end of the city to the other while taking in the sights and sounds of this one-of-a-kind metropolis.
5. Castillo de Orihuela
Orihuela Castle, despite its dilapidated state, still offers a stunning panorama of the city below, and it is still one of the best attractions in all of Orihuela.
In 713 A.D., Visigoth Count Theodimir constructed the stronghold to ward off Moorish invaders. From its perch atop Monte de San Miguel in the Sierra de Orihuela, the castle formerly provided a commanding defensive vantage point.
If you’re up for the challenge, you may hike up to the castle; however, the path is rather steep and a bit confusing in spots.
6. Beaches of Orihuela
The Orihuela Costas stretch over 16 kilometers and feature a number of Blue Flag beaches. Some of its most popular beaches are:
There are two sandy coves on Playa Flamenca, the larger of which is guarded by lifeguards in the summer.
The gorgeous golden sands at La Zenia Beach are a year-round draw for vacationers. There are several little beaches along this stretch of coast, and the water is very pure because of the protection provided by the surrounding bays.
Campoamor Beach is located in a more residential part of town, and it offers convenient amenities, such as wheelchair access.
7. The Palm Groves of Orihuela (Palmeral de Orihuela)
Palmeral de Orihuela is a massive palm grove located on the outskirts of the city’s historic and commercial core.
When the Muslims conquered the Iberian Peninsula, they planted the principal kind of palm tree that may be seen there today. The European Union has recognized this palm grove, the second biggest in the continent, as a Site of Community Interest.
Orihuela, Spain, is at the foot of the Sierra de Orihuela, the famous Mountains in the province of Alicante. There are a lot of museums and religious and historical buildings to see there, enough to please art and history fans alike. Hope this article helps you gain a little perspective on this magnificent city and its stunning attractions.