t The town of Morella sprawling out beneath a dramatic ruined castle
Experience Valencia and Murcia
These fertile lands have been occupied for over 50,000 years, with the Greeks, Phoenicians, Carthaginians and Romans all settling here before the Moors arrived in the 8th century. The provinces of Castellón, Valencia and Alicante, which make up the Comunidad Valenciana, were taken from the Moors by Jaime I’s Christian army in 1238 as part of the reconquista. Here, Jaime I established the Kingdom of Valencia. Catalan people moved into these areas following the conquest, bringing with them the Catalan language. The Kingdom of Valencia was fully incorporated into the Spanish Crown in 1707 by Filipe V, but the Catalan language remained in the area, developing into a distinct dialect known as valencià. This language is widely spoken and is often seen on signposts alongside Castilian Spanish in Valencia.
Murcia, to the south, was also taken from the Moors by Jaime I, in 1266, but it was incorporated into the Crown of Castile in 1304, rather than retaining any degree of independence. From the 16th to 18th centuries, Murcia’s urban centre began to grow, eventually bursting out of its old city walls. Many churches were built, which still typify Murcia’s cityscape today. The region has seen more than its fair share of natural disasters, with several floods and earthquakes devastating parts of the region over the centuries.