5 Must See and Do Things in Avila, Spain
The ancient town of Avila has plenty to offer in terms of sights and experiences. It is still untouched by the craze for high rise concrete structures. As we approached the fort walls it seemed as if we were approaching a movie setting. Avila is located close to the mountain range of Gredos Sierra and is built on the banks of the River Adaja. Half a day should enable you to experience Avila but for a decent exposure a night halt there would be best; else you would be just chasing the sights there. You can take a buggy and do the tour of the whole of old town or be on your own. Take a map from the tourism office to chalk out your path.
List of 5 must see and do things in Avila
1. Walls of Avila
The walls of Avila undoubtedly tops the list of must see sights of Avila. There are 100 towers and 9 huge gates in the old medieval walls of Avila. You can take the tours organized there. They start in batches from 10 in the morning to 8 at night and closed on Mondays. It is free for kids below 8 and 4 euros for adults. The best views of the walls are from ground level, you can comprehend the mightiness of the wall well. Again the best views are from the wall too, so climbing and tour of it gives lot of virtual delights.
2. Avila’s Cathedral
Avila’s Cathedral is a beautiful example of historical architecture of Spain, the Cathedral here is a must see. With a fortress like exterior the cathedral surprises with interiors having mix of Romanesque and Gothic styles. It was built between 12th to 14th centuries. The contrast of red-white and pure white stone clearly distinguishes the two eras. Cathedral Museum houses good amount of artifact collection dating from the 12th to the 18th century. Several valuable tapestries and embroidered pieces are housed here.
Tickets cost 4euros, with an extra 2euros for audio guide. Open timings are 10hrs to 20hrs and on holidays from 11.30hrs to 19.30hrs. Tour time can take anywhere between half an hour to one hour. With grown up kids it can be quite challenging to a leisured tour of the interiors of the cathedral.
3. Convent of St. Teresa
At a 10minutes walking distance from the Cathedral is the Convent of St. Teresa. It is believed that St. Teresa was born here. The convent has come up on the childhood home the saint. Look out for the lavishly gilded chapel which is believed to mark the exact spot of her birth. The stain glass windows are a sight to behold! St. Teresa (1515 – 1582) was a devout Catholic nun. She wrote poems dedicated to Jesus in which she expressed her devotion to Him. St. Teresa experienced many visions and mystical ecstasies. She built several churches throughout Spain and was canonized in 1622. The entrance to this convent is free. The open timing almost matches with Cathedral, but check it out before the actual visit.
4. Jewish Quarter of Avila
Jewish community flourished in the town of Avila during medieval period. Their population was more concentrated in the north east and south west parts in the region inside the fort walls of Avila. Walk down Calle de Santo Domingo, which was once the main street in the Jewish Quarter. Even today this area maintains the charm of Jewish times with its low buildings and irregular street plans, humble homes, many with a yard, still enjoying peace and quiet. After the expulsion of the Jews in 1492, the area was abandoned and became one of the town’s marginal areas.
5. Y for Yemas de Santa Teresa
Besides checking out the must see sights of Avila don’t forget to taste a bit of Avila too! Yemas are a kind of pastry made by local nuns. Their origin is believed to be from a recipe from one of the convents of the city. Some say it was produced about 130 years ago by Mr. Isabelo Sánchez. Whichever, a cake shop which belonged to him sells these pastries which are named ‘Yemas de Santa Teresa’. Basically they are soft boiled egg yolks, cooled and sugar coated with a dash of lemon juice to give a tangy touch. They are deliciuosly delicate, melt in the mouth without pressure and have a pleasant crunchy texture because of the layer of sugar covering them. Pic from www.avila.com