• Registration Year

    1985

  • Registered Sector

    Old Town of Avila, with its Extra-Muros churches

  • Historical Function

    Defense and religion.

  • Administrative Status

    Capital of the Province of Avila.

Location and site

At the edge of the Old Castile Plateau, Avila is located on a promontory that dominates the right bank of the Adaja, a tributary of the Duero River.

Urban Morphology

The ensemble of the old city extends between the plateau and the river and its form is longitudinal. Around the four great axes established in Roman times is an irregular medieval network of narrow winding lanes and small squares.

The 2.5km. long fortification wall, with its nine gates and 82 donjons, is a model of medieval defense architecture. Its structure and its materials (which include reused cut stone) are based on Roman urban planning principles. Inside the enclosure is a landscape of stone in which the Cathedral, constructed between the 12th and 14th centuries, is integrated with the city wall. During the Reconquest, Avila was on the margin of the Islamic domain. Its religious buildings are numerous, and its defensive and religious functions are closely linked.

Registration Criteria

"Avila is an outstanding example of a fortified city of the Middle Ages the surrounding walls of which are fully intact. The density of religious and secular monuments, both intra and extra muros, makes it an urban ensemble of exceptional value." (III) "It is the best known example of a fortified city resulting from the 'repoblaciones' policy of the Kingdom of Castilla on the morrow of the reconquest of Toledo." (IV)

Historical Reference

  • In the 8th century, when the Moors conquered almost all of the Iberian Peninsula, Avila was a city of modest importance.
  • In the 10th century, the Caliphate of Córdoba extended its authority over all of Muslim Spain. The cultural and spiritual enlightenment of Islam reached its peak and spread widely beyond the peninsula.
  • Following the partition of Muslim Spain, the Reconquest began in 1085; this consolidated the spiritual unity of the Kingdom of Castilla and led to the rise of Segovia, Salamanca and Avila. The construction of Avila's fortifications, which began in 1090, made it a leading stronghold of the Christian world.
Sr. Don José Luis Rivas Hernández
Alcalde
Excmo. Ayuntamiento de Ávila
Plaza del mercado Chico, 1
05001 Ávila, España
Tel:
+34.920 35.40.40
Fax:
+34.920 25.18.86
Email:
alcaldia@ayuntavila.com
Sra. Sonsoles Guillén Ruiz-Ayúcar
Secretaria General
Grupo de Ciudades Patrimonio de la Humanidad de España
Plaza del Mercado Chico, 1
05001 Ávila, España
05001
Tel:
+34.920 22.77.15
Fax:
+34.920 22.77.15
Email:
sguillen@ayuntavila.com
Sra. Rosa Ruiz Entrecanales
Arqueologa Municipal
Ayuntamiento
Palacio de los Verdugos - López Nuñez, 4
05001 Ávila, España
05001
Tel:
920-354000
Fax:
920-354049
Email:
rruiz@ayuntavila.com
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