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Carche (Valencian: El Carxe) is a mountainous, sparsely populated area in Region of Murcia, Spain, lying between the municipalities Jumilla and Yecla. The mountains reach an altitude of 1,371 metres at the Pico de la Madama and part of the region has the status of regional park. Three villages border the park: Raspay, La Alberquilla, and Carche with a total of 182 inhabitants (2005).
The name also refers to an extended zone within the Murcian municipalities Yecla, Jumilla and Abanilla with towns in which part of the population speaks Valencian. It covers an area of about 300 square kilometres and has 533 registered citizens (2005). It is also the name of a hamlet, the largest town in the region in terms of surface area, but the smallest in population.
Catalan language in MurciaEdit
Following sociolinguistic research carried out by Pere Barnils and Antoni Griera, who published their results in Dialectes Catalans (1919), El valencià (1921), and in Butlletí de Dialectología Catalana VII, El Carche became known for the first time as an area where Valencian (Catalan) was spoken.
Later, Manuel Sanchis i Guarner analysed in detail the distinctive traits of the dialect spoken there. Even though Valencian is not officially recognised in Murcia, the Acadèmia Valenciana de la Llengua organises classes in Valencian in Yecla upon request of the respective municipality.