Murcia City Hall T he Murcia City Hall is situated in the area once occupied by the old Moorish Alcazaba, or the Dar ax-Xarife, the Palace of the Prince. The Alcazaba, the fortress characteristic of Muslim cities, was a large walled structure that would have formed an entire district of the urban layout of the city. It was located on the edge of the city, so that it could be abandoned without the need to pass through the streets, thereby constituting a measure which isolated it from the rest of the city. In its interior there were a number of buildings, such as the House of the Prince, the Alcazar Nassir, the Caramajul Tower, baths, gardens and orchards. In the year 1266, Murcia was finally incorporated into the Crown of Castile. It was Alfonso X who ordered the construction of the Court House, or meeting place of the council, where the magistrates would hear the cases brought before them, and which was also the residence of the sheriff and the jail where prisoners were held. The façade is arranged on two levels. The first floor is adorned with the main balcony, with four large columns and two female figures that represent abundance and happiness, with the whole design crowned by a triangular pediment. It is onto this balcony that the mayor and other local officials emerge during official ceremonies, in order to address the people of Murcia. The chimes of the clock emit the “Murcia Anthem”, “Ode to Joy” and “Christmas Symphony” to mark the hour. DEPÓSITO LEGAL: MU-475-2013 The palace maintained its original form and Moorish style until 1500, when it underwent a transformation and its architectural and decorative forms were changed completely. The existing City Hall, conceived in the neoclassical style, was built in 1848, based on a design by the architect Juan José Belmonte. Tourist Information Office Plaza Cardenal Belluga. Edificio Ayuntamiento. 30004 Murcia. Spain e-mail: [email protected] Tel.: 968 358 749 • Fax: 968 358 748 Next to the classical building housing Murcia’s City Hall is the Moneo building, which is an extension of the original structure. The avant-garde design and construction work were entrusted to the famous architect Rafael Moneo, who created a remarkable building with a façade that leaves no observer indifferent. Also, its position opposite the baroque façade of Murcia cathedral and the Episcopal Palace adds the finishing touch to I n the interior, the main features include the monumental marble staircase and the Venetian stained glass windows produced in 1939, while the coat-of-arms seen today was produced in 1990. The Plenary Hall, designed by César Cort in 1927, is the grandest part of the entire structure. Here we can see the polychrome stained glass windows produced by the Maumejean house, which reproduce the Cantigas of King Alfonso X the Wise, Our Lady of Arrixaca, Our Lady of Fuensanta – the city’s patron saint- and the coatof-arms of Murcia. From the central skylight there hangs a magnificent chandelier, made from bronze and glass. The skirting board and doorframes of the hall are made from red marble, while the moulding, bases and capitals are covered in gold leaf. In the central window of the hall is the chapel, created from stained glass and featuring the Sacred Heart of Jesus, carved by the sculptor González Moreno, and restored in 2003. an ensemble of contrasting styles and periods. According to the words of Moneo himself “the façade / altarpiece is organized in the form of a musical score and reflects the number of different horizontal levels marked by the stone floor”. Technically, the building, which was completed in 1998, is a combination of reinforced concrete, brick and local sandstone. The Rafael Moneo design is very symmetrical and does not clash with its surroundings. Of particular note is the façade, with it large windows in which the city’s beautiful cathedral can be seen reflected.