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Santo Tomás Monastery

Gredos's mountain range

Avila, a mystic town by the mountains

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115 Km. West from Madrid, Avila is about as far as one would want to go on a daytrip from Madrid. The city's main attraction is its medieval wall, almost 2 km (1.5 miles) long and still in remarkably good condition. Built into the wall is the cathedral, begun in the 12th century but requiring nearly 600 years to complete. Just outside the city wall is the Basilica de San Vincente, built between the 12th and 14th century. Almost as large as the cathedral itself, the basilica was supposedly built at the site where Saint Vincent and his sisters were martyred. Their martyrdom is depicted in moving fashion inside the basilica on the martyrs' tomb.

Avila is also famous as the home of Santa Teresa de Jesús (Saint Theresa), the famous Spanish mystic and writer. Dedicated to her memory is a small exhibit in the San Juan Bautista church containing both manuscripts and relics, including several of her knuckle bones.

One final note: due to its high elevation Avila is known for both cold weather and strong winds.

Cercanías trains to Avila travel from Madrid's Chamartín railway station every 2-3 hours. Buses depart from Estación del Sur de autobuses. By car one should take the N-VI or Carretera de la Coruña, direction Galicia.



Avila roman walls