The walled, renaissance town of Vera is one of the most important commercial centres in the region. Originally called Baria, it was located by sea near Villaricos. The Arabs moved it to the hill of Espiritu Santo, but a huge earthquake destroyed it in 1518. The tale goes that Queen Isabel climbed to top of this hill, fired an arrow and ordered that Vera be built where it landed. Vera as we know it was built in the 16th Century in the urban Renaissance style and later enlarged in 18th Century.
The main square, Plaza Mayor, has several noteworthy buildings. The Church de la Encarnación (1520), flanked by 4 great towers, was built as a fort to protect against the frequent Moorish attacks. Inside there are marvelous altarpieces, remarkable in their architecture. To the left of this is the Ayuntamiento (town hall) built in the 16th Century and renovated in the 18th Century. Here, on the ground floor, is the Ethnographic and Archaeological Museum, originally the barracks of civil guard. There are exhibits on history, folklore and local traditions. The town hall also houses the municipal archives.
Other interesting buildings include:
- Church of the Convent de Nuestra Seňora de la Victoria or de Mínimos (1605).
- The Royal Hospital of San Agustín (19th Century) which replaced the same named building founded by Charles 1 of Spain himself (1521).
- Hermitage de Nuestra Seňora de las Huertas, built on outskirts of Vera to give thanks to the people of Lorca for their help in liberating Vera from the siege of 1569 by Moorish troops.
- Hermitage de la Virgen de las Angustias (19th Century) that houses the patron saint of Vera.
A more modern construction is the Plaza de Toros (Bullring) on the Garrucha road, built in 1879 in the Mudejar style and restored in1993. on the 25th September, patron saint Cleofas’ day, is the setting for bullfights.
Vera is a prosperous town with a great variety of shops, many selling locally made handicrafts, and on Saturdays there is an amazing street market that seems to take over the town. An equally strong attraction is the local cuisine, found both in classy restaurants and tapas bars.
Nearby at Vera Playa there is the only Water Park in the area, Parque Acuatico. Here you can take a thrilling ride on one of the many flumes or sit and relax by one of three swimming pools. There is an excellent selection of water shoots and slides and a children’s section with a play area and their own water slides. The park is open from May until the end of September.