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Cieza, Murcia, Spain

Cieza is a town and municipality in Spain, in the autonomous community of Murcia. It is the capital of the Vega Alta comarca, an old form of provincial subdivision). Its current population is around 40,000. The Segura River passes by the town. Its economy is based on agriculture, mainly in the cultivation of peaches and olives.

Populated since the Paleolithic Age, the area of Cieza is home to archaeological excavations in Almadenes, La Serreta, and Barranco de los Grajos. There are also Iberian remains (found at Bolvaz), as well as Roman, Visigothic, and Arabic deposits. The Arabs, who inhabited the area from the eleventh to thirteenth centuries, and who knew the area as Medina Siyâsa, left behind a mountain fortress. At the dig site of Medina Siyâsa, many decorative architectural elements have been found, such as engraved archs and porticos, and polychromed ceramics, glass, metals, etc. All these discoveries are kept in the museum of Siyâsa. The Ermita (“hermitage”) de la Virgen del Buen Suceso is located in the area known as Collado de la Atalaya. The Plaza de España is located in the heart of the city. The modern market was built in 1929 by Julio Carrilero. El Paseo (“The Avenue”) contains pictorial work in glazed tile by José Lucas, who dedicated the different tiles to several men of letters. The main church is the eighteenth century Basílica de la Asunción. Inside, there are sculptures and retablos by Rafael Ximeno y Planes, Ignacio Pinazo Camarlench, González Moreno, etc. The Iglesia de San Joaquín, dating from the seventeenth century, is a Franciscan monastery. The church-monastery of the Order of Poor Ladies (Clarisas), from the eighteenth century.

Abarán is a Spanish municipality located in the province of Murcia. It is situated in the Valley of Ricote on the banks of the River Segura 40 km from the city of Murcia. It belongs to the parish of Santiago. It has a population of 12,917 (as of 2005). Abarán belongs to the comarca of Vega Alta del Segura, the capital of which is Cieza. Abarán and Cieza share a healthy rivalry.

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