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Wednesday, July 17, 2024

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The Medieval City Walls Of Avila

Avila is a city from Spain, founded in the eleventh century in order to protect the Spanish territories from the Arab invasions. Nowadays, in the twenty-first century, it still has the power to fascinate the eye of the passersby. In this medieval town we will find much of the Iberian Peninsulas history, starting from Celtics, to Romans, Goths and then Moors. In Avila we will find the traces of these civilizations and the Romanian, Gothic, Renaissance or Baroque architectural monuments.

Avila is located in the region of Castile-Leon in Spain and is very known for its fortified walls made out of brown granite that were built between 1090 and 1099 in the mudejar style. Situated at an altitude of 1130 m above the sea level, on the mountain peaks that have served over time as a shield, this settlement first evolved under the pressure of foreign invasion, benefiting from a strong defensive system. Avila is the highest provincial capital of Spain.

King Alfonso VI and his son-in law, Count Raimundo of Borgoza, rebuilt in 1090 the city and its defense walls with a length of 2.5 km, thus managing to put it permanently under the control of Christians. These military structures, the best preserved from the whole Spain, are the ones that gives the city its specific medieval touch.

The Avila walls are 12 meters high and 3 feet thick, and for their construction were needed 2,000 workers and 10 years of work. The fortification has 90 defense towers and 9 curved gates that are still in very good condition. A walk along the wall offers you a wonderful view over the city and its surroundings.

But today most of the city lies outside of these fortifications. The gothic Cathedral of Avila, (half fortress, half church) was built between the XII-XV centuries as part of the walls and served as a military post thanks to its tall and massive stone tower.

Unexpectedly, the coming of the night represents the moment when this old building is again in the spotlight, every inch falling under the incidence of the spotlights. The Alcatraz and San Vicente gates particularly attract the attention of the visitors. It is recommended to make a day trip, from Madrid for example, because Avila is not a tourist destination in itself

Avila has played an important role in the religious and spiritual history of Spain. St. Teresa was born here in the year 1515 and became the most important of all catholic saints and also the protector of Spain. Avila is also associated with the place where the famous inquisitor Torquemada was buried.

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