Cehegín, perched on the hilltop called Cerro del Puntarrán, which lies between the rivers Argos and Quiper is a delightful place to visit. 600 metres above sea level and 65 kilometres northwest of Murcia with around 14.000 inhabitants, the town is so rich in history that it is one vast historic monument.
Evidence of the former glories of the town can be seen in the remains of the
city of Begastri, occupied by both Romans and Visigoths. In fact, the whole of this territory is layer upon layer of all the various cultures that established themselves here, the first settlers going back to 2400 BC.
The town was a political and Episcopal centre with many powerful church members living in it until towards the end of the 8th Century. Then came the Moorish invasion and Abderramón 1 conquered the town and sent the vanquished inhabitants to an area nearby which had been founded by an Arab tribe called the zenehegiés.
Over the course of history the people were able to return to their town and
they took the Arab name back with them.
Its famous mediaeval quarter (a Historical and Artistic Ensemble) owes its layout to the Arab settlements in the upper part of the town, and is a monumental gallery of stately homes, churches, convents, palaces and public buildings, some of indisputable value, such as the Church of la Magdalena, the Palacio Fajardo (an example of Murcian Baroque) or the Peña Jaspe.
Apart from this indisputable value of its historical and cultural ensemble, Cehegín has a range of delightful surroundings: the fertile valley viewed from the Plaza de la Constitución, the site known as Hoya de Don Gil, or the Argos Reservoir, even the town itself huddled around the hill, are all well worth a look.
The fertile plain is cultivated, and in addition to the usual crops grown in this lovely province, Cehegín is famous for its apricots. The old custom of making baskets and other products from the tough “esparto” grass is upheld, and natural stone is also quarried here.