The Walls of Ávila, Spain

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The walls of Ávila are lit at night, and surrounded by a walking path. It's a brisk 3 kilometers or so, and a lovely walk on a cool Castillian night.

Of course the first thing you notice as you approach Ávila, Spain is the walls. The walls of Ávila are pretty hard to miss.

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The apse of the Cathedral is integrated into the eastern stretch of the walls of Ávila.

The entire idea of Ávila seems bound up in the walls. The old city is completely surrounded by 2.7 kilometers (1.7 miles) of the stone and concrete walls. The average height of the walls of Ávila is 12 meters (39 feet) and their average thickness is 3 meters (10 feet.) There are 88 semicircular towers which stick up above the wall another three or four meters.

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Oddly, it's said that the sparse decoration on some of the turrets of the walls of Ávila was done by Moorish craftsmen who stayed behind after the Reconquest. There was a time when Muslims, Jews and Christians lived in harmony in Spain. That ended with the Inquisition.

Ávila was one of the first towns reconquered by the Spanish Christians from the Moors in the 11th Century. The walls were started and the Cathedral was also built and integrated into the walls soon after. The idea was to repopulate the area with Christians, and along with nearby Salamanca and Segovia, provide a rear guard against possible counter attacks by the Moors.

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A daytime walk around the tops of the walls is probably best to get a sense of the building technique and scope.

I suggest a walk around the top of the walls during the day so you can get a sense of the detail and the scope and the craftsmanship. You can't walk all the way around, but you can get a pretty good idea.

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The lights come on as the dusk encroaches. The walls of Avila are lit all the way around, providing a backdrop for the people who walk around the city at night.

Or, if you prefer a little more romance, the night time circumnavigation of the walls is lovely.

See our photos of the Cathedral of Avila here.

The center of the city of Ávila is a Unesco World Heritage site. Spain is the country with the third most Unesco sites. To see a list of all the Spanish sites, with links to our posts about them, click here.

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22 thoughts on “The Walls of Ávila, Spain”

    • We did do the full walk around at night, which was a nice walk to take, especially after eating a huge Avila steak dinner. I love the way the walls are lit all the way around.

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    • Hello Tom! When do the lights come on? We will be taking the 6:45 pm train out and sunset is at 6:11 on that day. Will we have time?

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      • I don’t have precise information on when the lights come on. Kinda doubt though that you’d have time for a walk around the walls. Are you only there for one day?

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  1. Those are some impressive walls. I had never heard of Avila until this post, and now I want to buy a ticket to fly there ASAP. It looks fascinating and your photos are gorgeous!

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    • Thanks so much, Cindy. It’s an impressive city all around. Be sure to spend some time in the beautiful cathedral and in the monastery of Santa Teresa. The monastery has a very interesting museum of the time of Teresa.

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    • Thanks, Doreen. Avila is sort of the classical Castillian city. It and Salamanca are too often ignored by many visitors. Too many other great things to see in Spain, I guess.

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    • I was just reading in the Issacson biography of Leonardo about walled cities and their construction. The Avila walls would no last long against cannons, according to Leonardo. Need more curve.

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    • Not many have intact walls still standing. Toledo is one. Most are smaller villages. In some, of course, you can even see remnants of walls from the Roman times, e.g. Barcelona, if you know where to look.

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  2. Amazing. The walls are so lovely and looks even better at night. We’ve been in Spain almost 3 years but have hardly scratched the surface as we keep going elsewhere. This year, I am determined to see more of Spain and Avila would be one to explore.

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  3. The Castille tour is highly recommended: Segovia, Burgos, Avila, Salamanca. All are worth a long visit, and their history sort of ties together nicely, too. Have fun. I envy anyone who lives in Spain.

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