Caravaca de la Cruz is a town of 26,000 people (2018) in the Murcia region of Spain. It is the fifth holiest place in Catholic Christianity in the world, celebrating the Jubilee year every 7 years, the next being in 2024. Caravaca is dominated by the medieval Santuario de la Vera Cruz (Sanctuary of True Cross), and contains several convents and a fine parish church, with a cross believed to have its healing power. Caravaca is home to many monuments and museums, many of which are important tourist attractions.
The hills which extend to the north are rich in marble and iron. The town is a considerable industrial centre, with large iron-works, tanneries and paper, chocolate and oil factories.
Besides being known by the Christian cross believed to have healing power, it also has a festival in honour of it, held between 1 and 5 May of each year. Along with processions and parades of Moors and Christians, the celebration of Horses of Wine is especially relevant, which now aspires to be the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO.
The Neoclassical painter Rafael Tejeo was born in Caravaca.
A gigantic archeological site was found in 2009. It is composed of 1300 graves from 2400 to 1950 BC.
- Sanctuary of the Santísima y Vera Cruz was built as a Moorish castle, then occupied and extended by various Christian forces after the reconquista, in particular by the Knights Templar. The current baroque façade dates back a couple of hundred years. The castle is gorgeous, towers over the town, and is relatively undiscovered!
- Museo de la Vera Cruz, inside the Castle of Santa Cruz.
- Museo de la Fiesta about the festivities in honour of the Santissima y Vera Cruz de Caravaca.
- Museo José Carrilero: sculpture
- Museo Arqueológico Municipal
- Museo de música étnica de Barranda
- Museo Etnográfico en Miniatura "Angel Reinón"
- Festivals of Santísima y Vera Cruz Moorish and Christian forces stage mock battles as the cross is carried through the town in early May. A highlight of the festival is the parade of wine horses, horses adorned in embroidered harnesses (the sanctuary has many examples of these harnesses from centuries past).
- Thuiller Theatre, built in 1843 on the old "Court of Comedy".
- The Culture House and the cultural centre built in the Church of the Society of Jesus are the centres of where cultural activity, and of film and artistic community.
- One of the most established cultural events is the Theatre Week Caravaca de la Cruz, which has run since 1980. It is held at the end of July each year in the Plaza de Toros in the town.