A Visit to Avila

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Sheltered by the Sierra Gredos Mountains we find Ávila, a World Heritage City. Behind the city walls of this Castile-Leon capital there is a valuable set of churches and Renaissance palaces that bear witness to the past wealth of the town as a textile centre. Being the birthplace of Saint Teresa of Jesus has left its mark across the city, both inside and outside the city walls, with a large number of religious buildings linked to the saint’s life. The European Commission has given Ávila the Access City Award 2010. Ávila’s long history begins with the old Celtiberian settlement of the Vettones around the year 700 BC. When the Romans arrived in the 3rd century BC, the first wall was built and Ávila became an important defensive location. After several centuries of decadence, the city was repopulated and rebuilt in the 11th century. According to tradition, Raimundo de Borgoña, son-in-law of King Alfonso VI, was in charge of supervising the reconstruction of the walls on the ruins of the old Roman fortress. The city’s period of greatest splendour was in the 16th century, when wool manufacture launched its economy. During that time of prosperity, many civil and religious buildings were erected in the city, and are still standing today in the city’s historic centre. The symbol of the city is the wall, one of the best preserved walled sites in Europe. Its perimeter is two kilometres and a half, with about 2,500 battlements, 100 towers, 6 doors and 3 secondary entrances.
The Los Leales Gate, one of the main entrances to the old town, leads straight to the cathedral, which looks like a fortress and was built between the 12th and 14th centuries. Its apse, known as “cimorro”, is attached to the wall and is the largest defensive turret on the bastion. While there are superimposed Gothic and Baroque elements on the façade, inside there are intricate reliefs in the retrochoir, and the tomb of El Tostado, made of alabaster. The Diocesan Museum holds different works of art, amongst which a monumental processional monstrance by Juan de Arfe stands out.

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About KIOSK the Weblog at Luxury Traveler

We at Luxury Traveler subscribe to the notion that "true luxury is the wealth of one's experiences." As such we focus on the finest European arts, cultural & LifeStyle pursuits as well as the talented individuals who bring them to life.
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