The Walls of Ávila are like a book which tells the story of the history of Ávila and its peoples. Throughout history the Walls have been an active and determining factor in the way the urban development of Ávila was configured and in the distribution of the urban space amongst the various social groups which lived here (craftsmen, noblemen, clergy, Jews, “mudéjares” (Muslims permitted to live under Christian rule), vegetable gardeners, and so on). If the visitor studies this monument closely, he or she will see in it the representation through the ages of the eternal issues of power, wealth, honour. The route of the wall takes advantage of natural escarpments in the terrain and the difference in levels caused by the river Adaja. The East section crosses the only flat area and is the weakest part of the whole structure; this explains why this section has the most significant defences of the whole structure. The area within the walls measures 33 hectares and a number of suburbs have always been outside the walled enclosure.
In 1985 it was declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO.
Founded in the 11th century to protect the Spanish territories from the Moors, this 'City of Saints and Stones', the birthplace of St Teresa and the burial place of the Grand Inquisitor Torquemada, has kept its medieval austerity. This purity of form can still be seen in the Gothic cathedral and the fortifications which, with their 82 semicircular towers and nine gates, are the most complete in Spain.
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