Lorca, Spain

Lorca
Lorca Castle
Lorca Castle
Flag of Lorca
Flag
Coat of arms of Lorca
Coat of arms
Motto(s): 
Lorca solum gratum, castrum super astra locatum, ensis minans pravis, regni tutissima clavis
Lorca is located in Murcia
Lorca
Lorca
City location in the Province of Murcia, the municipal area marked around it.
Lorca is located in Spain
Lorca
Lorca
Lorca (Spain)
Coordinates: 37°40′47″N 1°41′40″W / 37°40′47″N 1°41′40″W / 37.6798; -1.6944

Lorca (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈloɾka]) is a municipality and city in the autonomous community of the Region of Murcia in southeastern Spain, 58 kilometres (36 mi) southwest of the city of Murcia. The municipality had a population of 91,849 in 2010, up from the 2001 census total of 77,477. Lorca is the municipality with the largest surface area in Spain with 1,675.21 km2 (646.80 sq mi). The city is home to Lorca Castle and the Collegiate church dedicated to St. Patrick.

In the Middle Ages Lorca was the frontier town between Christian and Muslim Spain.[2] Even earlier to that during the Roman period it was ancient Ilura or Heliocroca of the Romans.[3]

The city was seriously damaged by a magnitude 5.1 earthquake on 11 May 2011, killing at least nine people. Due to a shallow hypocenter, the earthquake was much more destructive than usual for earthquakes with similar magnitude.

History

Prehistory and Antiquity

Archaeological excavations in the Lorca area have revealed that it has been inhabited continuously since Neolithic times, 5,500 years ago. The earliest permanent settlement is in the Guadalentín River valley, likely because of its presence of water sources, mineral resources, and lying along a natural communication route in Andalusia. On the hillside below the castle and the town archaeological digs have revealed the remains of an important population of the El Argar culture during the Bronze Age.[4]

During the Roman period, a settlement here was called Eliocroca,[5] detailed in the Antonine Itinerary and located right on Via Augusta. Elicroca was important enough to become a bishopric, suffragan of the primatial Metropolitan Archbishopric of Toledo, but it was to fade under Islam.