Visit of Avila
The City of Saints and Stones. Of gentlemen and churches. Or, also, the city of Santa Teresa. There are many names used for Avila.
But one thing is certain: Avila is really beautiful. You notice it right away, admiring its mighty walls, testimony of a perfectly preserved past.
The old city and the churches outside the walls have been part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1984.
Many choose to visit Avila within a day. A day trip from Salamanca or Madrid, from which it is perfectly halfway.
Here are some of the landmarks of the city.
VISIT OF AVILA
The city walls date back to the 12th century and, today, are among the best preserved in Spain and Europe. The walls extend for a perimeter of approximately 2500 meters, with more than 80 towers and 9 access gates.
Here is enclosed the heart of the Historic Center of Avila.
Walls and external churches have been included in the Unesco World Heritage Site.
CHRIST THE SAVIOR CATHEDRAL
Halfway between a fortress and a cathedral, this spectacular building is an integral part of the ancient walls. The apse, in fact, is incorporated into the Murallas forming a real Torrione. In Gothic-Roman style, it has an impressive and richly decorated interior, with works by El Tostado. Interesting works of Sacred Art are exhibited in the attached museum.
Really nice but it’s a shame about the entrance fee: €6 per person.
Open from Monday to Friday from 10:30 to 20:00. Saturday, from 10:00 to 21:00. Sunday, from 11:30 to 20:00.
Protected by the majestic walls, the old city is a place with a unique atmosphere.
The visit of Avila can only start from Plaza Mercado Chico, the real heart of the city. It stands on the remains of an ancient Roman forum. Today it is surrounded by elegant palaces and buildings, it is the historic town square. It is particularly lively, with many bars, cafes and restaurants. At Christmas it hosts some fascinating markets. Also to be admired in the evening.
On the square the beautiful Town Hall forms the background. A little further on, the Mercato de Abastos is an indoor market specializing in meats.
It is walking through the maze of alleys of the historic center that the visit of Avila is best appreciated. Here you will find many fascinating 15th and 16th century palaces. Some open their doors (- even for free) to visitors, such as the Palacio de Los Verdugo, not far from the Cathedral. Or the Palacio de Bracamonte, near the Puerta del Mariscal.
Throughout the Middle Ages, a large, rather powerful and influential Jewish community lived in the historic center of Avila. The Jews had settled in the area near Puerta San Vicente and Puerta de la Mala Dicha. Today you will find several references, such as Calle de los Zapateros, a reference point of the Jewish trade of the past. In what is now Calle Reyes Catolicos, there were once shops and workshops for Jews.
LOS CUATRO POSTES
Photo ©, Ben Bender
Avila rises to over 1100 meters above sea level and, in this sense, is the highest provincial capital in Spain.
The Monument of the Four Places is an absolutely unique viewpoint from which to enjoy a fantastic view of the surrounding environment.
Four Doric columns in what was once a place of deep devotion. Here, in fact, the faithful and pilgrims were blessed.
The view is truly unique, and can be reached with a walk from the historic center, past the Puerta de la Adaja.
MUSEUM OF AVILA
Archeology. Ethnography. History of the city. The Museum of Ávila offers an interesting selection of objects and unique pieces to learn about the history of the place and of the whole Province. It probably won’t be one of those must-sees while visiting Avila but having more time on your hands may be worth it.
The Museum is located at Pl. Nalvillos, 3, just outside the Walls, a few minutes’ walk from the Cathedral.
The entrance ticket costs just €1. Open Tuesday to Sunday from 10am to 2pm and from 4pm to 7pm. Closed on Mondays.