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Ávila
Ávila de los Caballeros
Ávila del Rey
Ávila de los leales
Ávila with its famous city walls, as seen from a distance

Flag

Seal
Motto: Una ciudad para todos...
(Spanish for "A city for everyone...")
Location
Coordinates: 40°39′N 4°41′W / 40.65°N 4.683°W / 40.65; -4.683Coordinates: 40°39′N 4°41′W / 40.65°N 4.683°W / 40.65; -4.683
Country Spain Spain
Autonomous Community Castile and León Castilla y León
Province Ávila
Government
 - Mayor Miguel Ángel García Nieto (PP)
Area
 - Land 231.9 km2 (89.5 sq mi)
Elevation 1,182 m (3,665 ft)
Population (2005)
 - Total 53,272
 - Density 226.87/km2 (587.6/sq mi)
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 - Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postal code 05001 - 05005
Area code(s) 34 (Spain) + 920 (Ávila)
Website http://www.avila.es (Spanish)
Old Town of Ávila with its Extra-Muros Churches*
UNESCO World Heritage Site

Ávila city walls.
State Party  Spain
Type Cultural
Criteria iii, iv
Reference 348
Region** Europe and North America
Inscription history
Inscription 1985  (9th Session)
* Name as inscribed on World Heritage List.
** Region as classified by UNESCO.

Ávila, sometimes called Ávila de los Caballeros or Ávila del Rey (Latin: Abila and Óbila) is the capital of the province of the same name, now part of the autonomous community of Castile and León, Spain.

Contents

Geography

The city is 1117 meters (3665 feet) above sea level, the highest provincial capital in Spain. It is built on the flat summit of a rocky hill, which rises abruptly in the midst of a veritable wilderness: a brown, arid, treeless table-land, strewn with immense grey boulders, and shut in by lofty mountains. This results in an extreme climate, with very hard and long winters, and short summers.

History

Alcázar's gate

Ávila may have been the ancient town known as Abula, mentioned by Ptolemy in his Geographia (II 6, 60) as being located in the Iberian region of Bastetania.[1] Abula is mentioned as one of the first cities in Hispania that was Christianized, specifically by Saint Secundus (San Segundo).[1] However, Ávila may have been the ancient Obila instead, while Abula may have been the town of Abla.[1]

Ávila is most known for the medieval city walls[2], that were constructed of brown granite in 1090: surmounted by a breastwork, with eighty-eight towers and nine gateways, they are still in excellent repair, but a large part of the city lies beyond their perimeter. The Gothic cathedral is integrated into the city's defences. It was built between the 12th and 14th centuries, and has the appearance of a fortress, with embattled walls and two solid towers. It contains many interesting sculptures and paintings, besides one especially fine silver pyx, the work of Juán de Arfe, dating from 1571. The churches of San Vicente, San Pedro and San Segundo are, in their main features, Romanesque of the 12th century. In the Gothic Monastery of Santo Tomás, erected by the Catholic Queen Isabella in 1482, is especially noteworthy the marble monument, carved by the 15th-century Florentine sculptor Domenico Fancelli, over the tomb of Prince John, the only son of Ferdinand and Isabella.

Famous residents

Ávila was the birthplace of the 4th-century theologian Priscillian, the first Christian to be executed for heresy. The town is more renowned for St. Teresa of Ávila, the Carmelite reformer who lived there twelve centuries later (c. 1515-1582). A convent and church mark the supposed birthplace of Santa Teresa. Other prominent natives include Tomás Luis de Victoria and the Spanish-born American philosopher George Santayana. From 1482 to 1807 it was also the seat of a university.

It was the city that Orson Welles always wanted to live in, for unusual reasons. "Horrible climate, too hot in the summer, too cold in the winter, very strange tragic place. I don't know why I want to live there." [3]

Food

Typical food in Ávila includes roast lamb, suckling pig, and veal steak. Ávila is also famous for its yemas de Santa Teresa - egg yolk candies named after the patron saint.

Town twinning

Torreón de los Guzmanes.
Cathedral of Ávila, built between the XI and XV centuries.

Gallery

References

  1. ^ a b c Avitiano (December 23, 2008). "Abulenses". Centro de estudios abulenses. http://centrodeestudiosabulenses.blogia.com/temas/abulenses.php. Retrieved February 20, 2009.  
  2. ^ Avila World Heritage Sites in Spain at travelinginspain.com.
  3. ^ Orson Welles Interview

External links

Wikisource-logo.svg "Avila" in the 1913 Catholic Encyclopedia.


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Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Ávila is a city in Spain.

Get in by car

It is 120km from Madrid via N6.

Get in by train

You can also take a cheap train from Madrid-Chamartin station.

Get around

A medieval city in a medieval way, the mesta route N110 road (Soria, Burgo de Osma, Ayllón, Segovia, Villacastin, Ávila, Piedrahíta, Barco, Plasencia, Cáceres) close to the mountains border of the Central System. The border for 3 centuries during the moorish invasion make the region very special.

See

Wonderful city walls of the Romanic period. It is perfect and it is from the 11th century Incredible churches, do not miss the romanic shape of Saint Vincent, the sarcophagus in Saint Thomas, the cahedral is a majestic castle-cathedral part of the city walls.

Eat

The meat is delicious, the Ávila beef is a must in Spain, try the stake "chuleton".

Avila yolks, known as "yemas de Santa Teresa", are the most famous sweet.

Drink

At night Vallespin St. is the best choice for young travellers. During the day you can take tapas with beer (caña) in the square "el grande" behind the cathedral.

Sleep

The Parador is the best way to enjoy a medieval experience in the ancient Ávila. A bit expensive the Bush family use to sleep there.

Get out

Do not miss the mountains of Gredos, incredible trekking tours; the best way to get there is the village Hoyos del Espino 50k from Avila, 150k from Madrid. Visit also the historical cities of Piedrahita, Barco de Ávila and Arevalo.

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