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A Place to Lift the Soul
When viewed against the backdrop of snow-capped mountains, Ávila is truly a spectacular sight. Its fully intact walls rise majestically from a hill, and the many semi-circular towers and 9 gates give it added character. Begun in the 11th century, these incredible fortifications are the symbol of this UNESCO World Heritage-listed city.
Partly built into the walls are the rather fortress-like cathedral and the Convent of Saint Teresa, erected in honour of the saint whose childhood was spent in a house on the same spot. Her relics are here, making it a popular pilgrimage spot. The city’s biggest festival is also in her honour and includes a colourful parade, fireworks and fights in the bullring.
Teresa entered the Incarnation Convent in Ávila, but found herself at odds with the practices, so founded a new monastery: the Convent of Saint Joseph. Of the city’s other religious structures, the Royal Monastery of Saint Thomas is particularly of note as it contains the tomb of Don Juan, son of King Fernando.
Other Ávila sights include the Torreón de los Guzmanes - a tower attached to the provincial council headquarters – and the Four Columns monument which offers fabulous city views.
The Ávila accommodation on Booking.com includes boutique hotels, traditional guest houses and cheap apartments near the train station.
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