In the Vega Baja
Today we spend a day in Orihuela, a municipality located in the Vega Baja. When you arrive at the city the first thing to see is the remains of the castle that tower over the town. This elevated place offers views over the surrounding mountains and its beautiful palm grove. Other charms worth a visit are the sanctuary of Monserrate, the convent of Santo Domingo, the church of Santas Justa and Rufina, and its attractive museums.
Come and discover these secrets with us, and get some tips on more things to do.
How to get to Orihuela?
The town of Orihuela is right beside motorway A-7 between Alicante and Murcia. Because of that, it should not be a problem to arrive in the city. If you choose to use public transport, take a train from Alicante train station. The town has a new station where most trains stop.
Things to do in Orihuela?
We like to start our day in Orihuela, having a look at the castle.
On the San Miguel mountain, the highest point of the town, we find a great fortress built in seven circles. The War of Succession, storms and lightning strikes as well an earthquake have left it in ruins. However, the remains of the wall and some towers can still be seen. A visit to the site is worth it. Because of the views over the city and the Palmeral de Orihuela, the second largest in Europe it offers. The southern slope of this mountain houses a Seminary from the 15th century. This Seminary has a baroque facade.
The Church of Santiago from the 14th century stands in the eastern part of the city. They built the church in a gothic style and the Chapel of San Jose stands out.
The image of the Virgin found by a shepherd when listening to a bell is on display in this sanctuary. The facade is neoclassical and the interior decoration is baroque.
The Marquises of Rubalcaba owned this house before the city council acquired it in the 80s. It is used to develop large receptions and houses the local tourist office. And it was built in 1930 on the site where the Abbey House of the Church of Santiago was located.
It has three floors and small mezzanines. The lower part was used as an office, garages and housing for the landlords. The first floor is the main area, where the kitchen and the ostentatious rooms were. On the second floor were the bedrooms. It also has gardens with recreation areas and tile sources.
Archeological Museum of Orihuela
Here you find the only easter weekend procession that is prohibited from entering the church, La Diablesa. due to the presence of a figure in the form of a devil.
Church of Santas Justa y Rufina
This church with its bell tower of the 14th century appears to be a fortress. In addition, it is decorated with gargoyles and fantasy animals. Outside, on the Plaza de las Salesas the Puerta de las Gradas stands out, as well as the Communion Chapel with an important altarpiece.
The building of the Holy Church Cathedral of Salvador and Santa María de Orihuela began at the end of the 13th century on the remains of an Arab temple. Alfonso X the Wise ordered it to be the largest in the town. It changed ownership in 1304. When it passed in the hands of the Aragonese Crown in 1304. They converted it into a cathedral in 1413. The oldest part is the quadrangular tower, where there was a prison. It has a clock and liturgical bells. The cathedral has three doors: de las Cadenas, Loreto, and the Annunciation.
Episcopal palace of Orihuela
They built this palace in Baroque style in the eighteenth century. At present, it is the headquarters of the Diocesan Museum of Sacred Art. The palace is located on an old site that belonged to the Cabildo de la Catedral.
Convent of Santo Domingo
This you need to see during a day in Orihuela. It is one of the most important monuments of the city, known as “El Escorial de Levante”. It was the university’s main building from the 16th to the 19th century. After that, the city turned it into a school. In its interior, we see impressive Renaissance cloisters and a Church. And inside tiles elaborated in the 18th century are visible in the refectory.
Next to the Convent, we find the Puerta de la Olma. This door represents the Oriol bird, the symbol of the city of Orihuela.
Museum of the Easter Week
You can find this museum in Plaza de la Merced. It shows all the processions except for one.
The Miguel Hernández museum house
This house-turned museum is definitely worth a visit. Even when you are not a lover of literature. The famous poet lived with his family in this house before he moved to Madrid. It is next to the School of Santo Domingo, where Miguel Hernández studied. This house is a typical construction of a single floor with two bedrooms, two bedrooms, a kitchen, and a hall. It houses memories and photographs of the writer. As well as the fig tree in the garden where he always sat.
Museum of the Defensive Wall
On Calle Salesas we find one of the latest discoveries as a result of the works of the University. Here they found the remains of the city wall and some Arab baths that were next to it.
Palm Grove of San Antón
This interesting place has an Islamic origin and is semicircular. The palms are only on the sides of the fields, roads and irrigation systems. Undoubtedly, it is an interesting way to learn about agricultural systems of intensive irrigation. The water comes from the irrigation channels of Callosa and the use of the land is maximum.
What can we eat in Orihuela?
During a day in Orihuela, you will need to eat, and we recommend the gastronomic delights of Orihuela range from traditional dishes to tasty crusted rice. Plates like a stew with meatballs crusted rice and typical dishes like migas, altabellacos, and cucurrones are served daily. It is necessary to emphasize the great quality of sausages of local elaboration. The different types of Morcilla (blood worst) are best known in the region. Fish is another ingredient well used in dishes like cauldron, Arroz a banda, and seafood paella.
As for desserts, the vast majority are of Arab origin. Nowadays cloistered convents maintain the tradition and still offer the pastries for sale.
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