Lush. That was the first word which appeared in my mind after going through the door to the casino in Murcia. Lush and luxurious. At the same time soft and delicate, artistic and perfect. The picture of rich Spanish gentleman of 19 century, smoking cigars and reading newspapers before lunch, playing cards and roulette in the evenings, reading books in the library or fencing in front of allegories of four seasons settled in me immediately and stayed throughout my visit.
The décor in each room was an excellent match for the purpose. The ladies room was full of mirrors and angels, soft tapestries covered the walls and comfy seating allowed to rest for a bit of a light conversation. The gents room was stricter, even raw, with dark wooden floor and allegories of four seasons on one of the walls. The library offered a cultural atmosphere, with green lamps and soft brown chairs, with books stacked in the shelves, waiting impatiently for someone to open them and read. Spiral stairs leaded to the upper gallery, with more books, inviting to taste the adventure.
The crystal candelabras dominated Salon de Baile and the Antesala invited guests to rest on a comfy 18 century sofas positioned near the walls. Its simple black and white floor added ease to the richly decorated room, with heavy celling and Greek type columns, guarding guests from the corridors. Gold, brown and silver dominated in the rooms, leaving white as a perfect match for the corridors, bringing out the lightness of the glass ceiling.
The Real Casino in the middle of busy Murcia was restored to its former glory in 2007. Part of it is available to the visitors to enjoy the work of few famous 19 century architects: F. Borain “El Joven”, J. Ramon Berenguer, J. Marin Baldo and Pedro Cerdan. Creating this incredible building took 40 years and you can easily see the mixture of styles in it, although there is something connecting them all – the richness of the decorations, lightness of the interiors and attention to details.
Visiting the casino is like trip in the past, to the times when things created by people were not only useful but adorable and splendid. Whenever I am visiting such a place I am always amazed by immaculateness of the décor. It is like an artist (as for me these things could only came from true artist hands) was trying to capture the soul of the object, or perhaps lose a piece of his own soul, breath life into the lifeless matter, create the moment and imprison it forever.
Not all the rooms are available for the visitors. There are two rooms you are able to see but you are not allowed to enter. The sumptuousness of these two rooms would take anyone’s breath away – first dining room, with a small fountain in the middle and immaculately arranged rose petals resting in the water. In here, quite suddenly, new colour was added to break the pattern of white – vibrant blue, the Greek idea of perfect combination. The second dining room is darker, hidden behind delicate net curtain, flawless allegories of the evening.
On my way back I spotted another room, the reading room with windows facing the street. An older gentleman was sitting in an enormous armchair, holding a newspaper, oblivious to the world outside, lost in thoughts. A glass of golden liquor was resting on a small table besides and the air was gasping for a cigar smoke. A perfect visitor to the casino, almost torn out from the past. We left him in peace, crossing to the modern world, leaving silence behind.
Calle Traperia 18, 30001, Murcia.
Monday-Friday, 10.30 – 7.00 p.m.
Tickets price: 5 euros for adults, 3 euros discounted tickets.