Avila. Old Castile in Spain.

Ávila is a Spanish fortified city located in the autonomous community of Castile and León.

Sometimes called the Town of Stones and Saints, claims that is one of the towns with the highest number of Romanesque and Gothic churches per capita in Spain. Owns complete and prominent medieval town walls, built in the Romanesque style; writer José Martínez Ruiz, in his book The Castilian Soul, described it as «perhaps the most 16th-century town in Spain».

The town is also known as Ávila de los Caballeros, Ávila del Rey and Ávila de los Leales, (Ávila of the Knights, Ávila of the King, Ávila of the Loyalists), each of these epithets being present in the town standard.

Orson Welles once named Ávila as the place in which he would most desire to live, calling it a «strange, tragic place». Various scenes of his 1965 film Chimes at Midnight were filmed in the town.

Ávila was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985.

What to do in Avila?

Avila is related to Santa Teresa de Jesus. (Saint Teresa of Jesus)
Teresa Sánchez de Cepeda Dávila y Ahumada, was born in Avila in 1515, daughter of a noble family and of Jewish origin by her paternal grandfather.
Teresa chose a monastic life in the Catholic Church. A Carmelite nun, prominent Spanish mystic, religious reformer, author, theologian of the contemplative life and mental prayer, she earned the rare distinction of being declared a Doctor of the Church over four centuries after her death. In 1622, Teresa was canonized by Pope Gregory XV.

The Walls of Ávila in central Spain, completed between the 11th and 14th centuries, are the city of Ávila’s principal historic feature. These fortifications are the most complete in all of Spain.
The walls have an average width of 3 meters and an average height of 12 meters. The nine gates were completed over several different periods. The Puerta de San Vicente (Gate of St Vincent) and the Puerta del Alcazar (Gate of the Fortress) are flanked by twin towers, 20 meters high, linked by a semicircular arch. The apse of the cathedral also forms one of the towers.

It is possible to walk upon the walls for roughly half the circumference. Whilst some of the walls will never be navigable in this way because of their integration into other structures, there is a large stretch of the walls that has yet to be made safe for pedestrians.

The site was registered as a National Monument in 1884. In 1985, the old city of Ávila and its extramural churches were declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO.

The construction of the iron-gray granite Gothic Cathedral of Ávila is said to have commenced in 1107 under Alvar Garcia de Estrella. Other historians believe the Cathedral to be the work of the master mason Fruchel in the 12th century, coinciding with the repopulation of the town led by Raymond of Burgundy. The eastern apse, which forms part of the town walls, is half church, half fortress, and it was here that the loyal citizens elevated Alonso VII as their king, hence Ávila del Rey. The transept was finished in 1350 by Bishop Sancho de Ávila. The earlier Romanesque parts are made of a striking red-and-white «blood» limestone, while the Gothic parts were built with pure white stone.

Basilica of San Vicente
Construction began in the 12th century and lasted until the 14th century. Its design is awarded to the French master Giral Fruchel, the author himself from the cathedral and pioneer of the Gothic style in Spain.
The overall structure is similar to the Latin basilicas. It has a Latin cross plan, three ships, dome, tribunes, three apses, atrium, two towers, and crypt.
Highlight the tomb of Saint Peter of the Boat and, above all, the Cenotaph of the Holy Brothers Martyrs, the head of the temple, Saint Vincent of Avila, and her sisters, along with the torture he suffered in the 4th century, Saint Sabina and Saint Cristeta, (Cenotaph of Saints Vicente, Sabina and Cristeta), one of the most important works of Romanesque sculpture in Spain.

Avila is a complete tour through Romanesque and Gothic architectural and sculpture styles, both for lovers of history and architecture at a time. Iberinbound, iberinbound@iberinbound.com , incoming educational travel agency in Avila, for groups, students. We believe that educational travel is an opportunity for students and an unforgettable experience. Our mission is that our groups enjoy their trip and learn about culture, history, art, geography, the industry, and last but not least life.

Avila’s cuisine is the classic of the Old Castile, inland, with consistency, given the harsh winters and hot summers.
Its most famous dishes are: «Beans from the Boat» (White beans from Barco de Ávila cooked with sausage, chorizo, pig ear, etc.
«Chuletón de Ávila» This is a grilled T-bone steak, best cooked rare, which can be enjoyed in any hotel in the town. It is made from Avileña-Negra ibérica, an indigenous black cow of excellent meat, whose fame transcends the borders of the province and the country.

«Potatoes scrambled» and «Yolks of Santa Teresa«. Also worth mentioning is «Hornazo», «Bun stuffed with sausage, bacon, steak and eggs», «Veal gizzards» or the «Cochinillo», which can be found in the capital and in Arévalo.

In Ávila we can also find a great variety of wines.

Known is the area of ​​the Valle del Alberche and the Valle del Tiétar for its wines, famous especially those made using the Garnacha grape of the area, almost always from old vines. Wines especially from aging that offer to the taster a guaranteed quality as evidenced by the newly obtained Designation of Origin of Cebreros Quality Wines (DO Vinos de Cebreros).

In the northern area of ​​the province of Ávila we find wines from the Rueda Designation of Origin (wines do Rueda). Wines well recognized, which have obtained for several consecutive years scores higher than 90 out of 100 in the Peñín Guide of Spanish wines.