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Uploadet 22. maj 2018

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tæt på Ávila, Castilla y León (España)

Route around the entire perimeter of the walls

Visitors to the city of Ávila don’t always follow the route around the entire perimeter of the walls. This is also logical because it is a "stroll" of almost three kilometres. However, we recommend it. It is worth the effort if you want to appreciate the grandeur of the walls and discover some of the not so well-known places of picturesque beauty.

Visitors can walk around the entire perimeter of the walls on the outside. Inside, it is more complicated since many areas around the footings are part of private or public enclosures. The route that offers the best view follows the allure (top of the walls) along a length of around 1700 m and is open to the public. However, the necessary preparation work on the south face has yet to be completed.

You can start your route as and where you prefer, but a good option if you want to cover all the walls is to start at what is referred to as turret 1, i.e. the apse or upper end of the Cathedral.

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UNESCOs Verdensarvsliste

Puerta del Alcázar (Murallas de Ávila)

The large building of the Alcazar or the main barracks reached the gate that was named after it, but there is no trace of the building except for a wicket gate that can be seen halfway up. Inside, on what was the former layout, there is a large open area with gardens. It marks the location of another entrance to the allure for visiting the walls from on top. This gate looks onto the flattest and most accessible area and has the most impressive appearance. However, part of its top section has been recently restored with a certain amount of ‘invention' and, at the end of the 16th century, Philip II of Spain transformed it as shown by the inscription and coat of arms that crowns the arch. The fact that it was the most accessible area and the entrance to the Alcazar or main barracks meant that the entrance was given special protection. The turrets that flank the gate are impressive enough in their aspect, but an advance wall or barbican was also built and remained there until the beginning of the century. The aim was to prevent the war machines, that were becoming more and more complex, reaching the footings of the walls.
Sacred architecture

Cimorro de la Catedral (Murallas de Ávila)

Between the Apse of the Cathedral and the Cubo de la Mula (Turret of the Mule) This section faces east and is the most readily accessible owing to the flat surrounding land. Accordingly, this wall had to be specially reinforced and furnished with turrets of a height of 15 m and huge defence mechanisms at the gates. The large apse of the Cathedral (known in Spanish as the Cimorro) is a unique example of military and religious architecture insofar as it integrates the upper end of the Cathedral into a defence wall. Today, the Cathedral building is that which replaced an earlier construction and its extension involved the removal of one of the turrets in the walls. To maintain the solid appearance of the defence construction, the apse was lined to hide the absidioles or small chapels.
Borg

Puerta de San Vicente (Murallas de Ávila)

The Puerta de San Vicente (Gate of St Vincent) is a monumental gate with very strong turrets flanking the entrance. It is clearly of Roman origin since foundations of two earlier towers have been found at the base. There is also a verraco (animal sculpture) located at the gate and another one that has been moved. This suggests that the gate may have had this type of sculpture on both sides. Two large square turrets were then built and later covered by the semi-circular turrets we see today. Moving to the north, we come to the turret that marks the vertex of the walled enclosure, passing by the stop for the tourist train that offers visitors trips around the historical centre of Ávila. It is known as the Cubo de la Mula (Turret of the Mule) and forms the northeast vertex of the walls. It gets its name from an animal sculpture (verraco) that has been built in the aspect and whose nape protrudes from it. It was thought to be an equid, but is actually a bovine animal or cow. Tradition has it that it marks the burial place of the mule that spontaneously brought the remains of San Pedro del Barco to the Basilica of San Vicente (see section on Legends). If you follow the route along the allure, you will see buildings adjoined to the walls with a predominance of yards and patios since adjoining buildings were prohibited for centuries. The prohibition remains in place today. One of the most interesting sights you can see is the Episcopio, a Romanesque building used as a municipal conference and exhibition centre. This large area was home to the former Bishop’s Palace and part of it has been used today for the Public Library.
Borg

Puerta del Mariscal (Murallas de Ávila)

After passing by the turret, we see a very interesting view of the walls, one of the most characteristic images of it thanks to the succession of turrets and the absence of buildings nearby. Here, you can see how the walls adapt to the lie of the land and imagine how a large amount of earth and rubble has been placed at the footings of the defence construction over the centuries, which suggests that its aspect was even more impressive. The so-called Puerta del Mariscal (Gate of the Marshall, named after Álvaro Dávila, Marshall of King John II of Castile, who paid for its construction) is much more discreet than the gates in the east wall and comprises an arch and surrounding turrets that have not been built to add to the solid appearance of the walls.
Sacred architecture

Puerta del Carmen (Murallas de Ávila)

The Puerta del Carmen (Gate of El Carmen) is a skewed entrance. This means that to gain access from the outside, a turn is necessary, which prevents it from being approached head-on. This formula was very common in Moslem military architecture and guaranteed a better defence system by impeding a head-on attack. It also differs from other entrances because the turrets around it have a square layout This gate takes its name from a Carmelite convent that was joined to the walls. The building was then used as the provincial prison and the modern-day Provincial Historical Archive has been built on its remains. The most recognisable remains of the convent is the brick steeple, which has been photographed thousands of times thanks to the spectacular stork’s nests that have been built there.
panorama

Cubo de San Segundo (Murallas de Ávila)

Between the Puerta del Carmen (Gate of El Carmen) and the Cubo de San Segundo (Turret of San Segundo) Visitors can also see in this section a number of similar turrets that gain in magnificence thanks to the fact that they stand on a very steep slopes with gardens at their base today. You need to imagine that they would have been even steeper and that the slopes are gentler as a result of the earth that has been placed there over the centuries. For hundreds of people from Ávila, the slopes become improvised sledging slopes when it snows. From the allure, we see how the large mansions disappear and are succeeded by popular buildings with patios facing the walls. From the Middle Ages, this area was apparently occupied by this type of low-level building inhabited by humble people and alternating with areas for craft and trade. Indeed, there are still mediaeval pottery ovens located in Calle San Segundo that are open to the public and date from the post-medieval period, offering an exhibition that takes an interesting look at the history of pottery.
Borg

Puerta del Puente (Murallas de Ávila)

The Puerta del Puente (Gate of the Bridge) stands as imposing as those of the east wall, but was uniquely important in that it was used as an entrance to the city for all those who reached Ávila from the west, an area where much of the city's countryside is located. Between the 15th and 16th centuries, it was heavily refurbished and the original mediaeval gateway that can be seen if you stand in the centre of the gate was hidden. From this gate, the walls rise slightly up to the south-west vertex or Cubo de la Malaventura (Turret of Misfortune).
Archaeological site

Recorrido por la base de la muralla

Inside, there are large areas that have not been built up, gardens with a couple of properties and only a few residential buildings around the gate. The first section contains a new entrance to the allure, fitted with ramps and a lift for visitors with reduced mobility. There is also a digital information point. All of this section has not yet been prepared for routes along the allure.
foto

Camino peatonal en la base de la muralla

From turret 53 to the Puerta de la Santa (Gate of the Convent of St Teresa) Along this entire section, the walls are built on outcrops of rock, the most imposing of which can be seen at turret 53, also known as the Turret of Misfortune. Moving along through a large parking area (this area is known by the name of Atrio de San Isidro (Atrium of San Isidro) owing to the fact that it was once the location of a Romanesque shrine devoted to said saint, we come to the Puerta de la Malaventura or Puerta de la Mala Dicha (Gate of Misfortune), known locally as the Arco de los Gitanos (Arch of the Gypsies), a simple arch and the only pedestrian access in the entire enclosure.
Borg

Arco de la Malaventura (Murallas de Ávila)

Moving along through a large parking area (this area is known by the name of Atrio de San Isidro (Atrium of San Isidro) owing to the fact that it was once the location of a Romanesque shrine devoted to said saint, we come to the Puerta de la Malaventura or Puerta de la Mala Dicha (Gate of Misfortune), known locally as the Arco de los Gitanos (Arch of the Gypsies), a simple arch and the only pedestrian access in the entire enclosure.
Sacred architecture

Puerta de la Santa (Murallas de Ávila)

For its part, the Puerta de la Santa (Gate of the Convent of St Teresa) or Puerta de Montenegro (Gate of Montenegro) is marked out by two square-shaped turrets. It is crowned by a small machicolation. It receives its name because it leads to the Convent of La Santa, a monastery built on the site where St Teresa was born.
Borg

Puerta del Rastro (Murallas de Ávila)

The Puerta del Rastro (Gate of El Rastro), of mediaeval origin, was extensively refurbished in the 16th century and a large basket-handle arch was added and characterises it today. The continuous gallery was also added as part of the Mansion of Los Dávila, which is adjoined from inside the walls.
Sacred architecture

Palacio Episcopal y Paseo del Rastro (Murallas de Ávila)

A pleasant promenade starts from the gate, with the walls on one side and the view of the valley on the other. The large Bishop's Palace, which is currently the Bishop’s see, takes up most of the physical area and several of its sections protrude from or have been integrated into the walls, with a small circular sentry box worthy of particular mention. The last section of this sector, between turrets 78 and 80 and towards the interior, was taken up by the Alcazar, which was demolished at the beginning of the century.
Provisioning

Plaza de Santa Teresa de Jesús (Murallas de Ávila)

The large building of the Alcazar or the main barracks reached the gate that was named after it, but there is no trace of the building except for a wicket gate that can be seen halfway up. Inside, on what was the former layout, there is a large open area with gardens. It marks the location of another entrance to the allure for visiting the walls from on top.

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