MURCIA, according to the nineteenth-century writer Augustus Hare, would “from the stagnation of its long existence, be the only place Adam would recognize if he returned to Earth”. Things have certainly changed – today, Murcia is the commercial hub of the region and boasts a lively cultural scene. Founded by the Moors in the ninth century on the banks of the Río Segura (no more than a trickle now), the city soon became an important trading centre and, four centuries later, the regional capital. It was extensively rebuilt in the eighteenth century, and the buildings in the old quarter are still mostly of this era. Today, a substantial student population ensures that there’s a thriving bar and club scene, plus plenty of tapas bars and restaurants to suit all budgets.