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Los Cuatro Postes (The Four Posts)

If you visit the town in the afternoon and, of course, you wish to return to where you set off as you began, you should finish your visit by crossing the bridge over the River Adaja and walking the short distance to the Calvary of Los Cuatro Postes. The view of the town is nothing short of spectacular. And if you go there in the evening, it is particularly magical to see how the town lights up with the walls in the foreground and the Ávila sky changing from blue to black; it is an experience that is not easily forgotten. Seen from here, the cabalistic structure of Ávila, the 'Jerusalem of Castile' as it was called by the poet Avner Pérez, or, if you prefer, the interior Castle of Teresa de Cepeda y Ahumada, is so visible that it hardly needs explanation.

And what is the story behind Los Cuatro Postes? There are two legends, which are not necessarily incompatible.
First of all, around the year 1157, the town's settlers decided to give thanks for the end of the plague that had taken its toll in Ávila and the surrounding area by organising a pilgrimage to the Chapel of San Leonardo. Everyone wanted to go since no one had escaped from the suffering of the mortal disease and they wanted to give thanks for having been allowed to survive. Ávila was left more or less empty and the Muslims, who were constantly attacking from their positions in the South, took advantage of the situation to enter the town and steal anything of value. When they had finished, they fled with their loot.

When they were told what had happened, the aldermen Nuño Rabia and Gómez Acedo formed a group of men to go after the rogues, separating the group into two to try and surround the thieves. However, the troops that were not under their command retreated to Ávila and shut themselves inside the town. When they had caught the attackers and recovered what had been stolen, they returned to Ávila and found the entrances to the walls closed and the traitors acting as governors. The new rulers demanded part of what had been recovered to free the town.
Royal intercession was soon to arrive and King Sancho III of Castile intervened, entering the town and throwing the traitors out. He ordered that they were to live outside the walls for the rest of their lives and have no privileges. This was apparently the origin of the mediaeval suburbs.

The municipal authorities decided that the original pilgrimage would be repeated each year and the monument known as Los Cuatro Postes was built to make sure that the unfortunate events would not be forgotten.

Another legend has it that it marks the place where, as children, Teresa of Jesus and her brother Rodrigo were caught by their uncle when they were on their way to the south to spread the word of God to the infidels, not concerned by the fact that they might be killed in the attempt since that would turn them into martyrs. They had been so heavily influenced by the adventure books they had read that they wanted to have their own.

Years later, when Teresa was 'expelled' from the town due to her different interpretation of religion, she stopped at the place as she was leaving and, looking back to Ávila, she took off her sandals and knocked the sand off them, saying, "From Ávila, I take with me not even the dirt'". Fortunately, she later reconciled matters with her hometown.