Ávila

Declared a World Heritage Site in 1985, the Castilian Leon city of Avila, known as the city of knights and mysticism, offers a wide cultural heritage to travellers. The wall of Avila, which has witnessed the passing of time and history, with its two and a half kilometer perimeter, is undoubtedly one of the best known images of the city, an example of defensive architecture built with the remains of other civilizations including the Roman. The Saint Vincent Basilica, a national monument since 1882, is a beautiful example of Roman presence in this city. This temple reminds us of the child martyrs Vicente, Sabina and Cristeta, whose detailed story can be seen in the grave found inside. It is without doubt the jewel of the basilica. The Cathedral of St. Salvador is, together with that of Siguenza, one of the first proto-Gothic cathedrals built in Spain. Its construction began in Romanesque style and was concluded in Gothic. In this cathedral we find one of Berruguete’s best oils paintings on a wooden surface. The cathedral’s museum houses other treasures such a spectacular silver monstrance from 1571, created by Juan de Arfe. In the chapel of the wise men we will see an unusual image of King Balthazar carved in black stone. If we look up we can also see the heads of the three wise men, just above the place where the bishop receives ecclesiastical hierarchy. Avila is also mysticism, as symbolized by one of its daughters, Saint Teresa de Jesus, a strong woman who was ahead of her time, and who during her stay in the monastery of the Incarnation, proposed a reform of the Carmelite Order. She became the prioress of the monastery. If we enter the convent’s museum we will see a recreation of her life: The cell she used during her time as prioress, a hand embroidered towel, the log she used as a pillow to mortify herself. A city of palaces, Avila takes us to palaces such as the Veladas, where once Isabella the Catholic and Carlos V stayed as guests. Another unique example is the Palace of Davila, a palace with defensive aims and a symbol of rebellion with inscriptions such as: "When one door closes, another opens", which recalls the family’s persistence in having a door that allowed them to leave home and thus avoid the isolation that the closure of the wall meant at night, something to which Juana La Loca was opposed. Eventually, they had to resign themselves to a window through which they could enjoy views like the Rastro Street. The road got its name from the town slaughterhouse that existed until the late sixteenth century. Today it is one of the locals’ favourite places to relax and enjoy sights such as this... just a taste of what this city reserves for the traveller.