Individual: 8,00 €
Included Guided visit and entrance to monuments.
The best solution for building the walls was granite, a material that was found in abundance next to the site on the ridges on which the defence construction was built and in the reusable materials found in the nearby Roman necropolis. For the Romanesque churches (12th-13th centuries), a softer material was sought to enable the sculpture work. Here, the so-called Caleno granite from La Colilla (a granite conglomerate), which is easy to work with, has a yellow colour with orange and reddish tones created by its ferrous oxide content, offered the beautiful dynamism that contrasts with the robust Romanesque style and characterises it in Ávila.
The Caleno granite quarries of the nearby village of La Colilla were associated with the history of Ávila’s Romanesque buildings, observing the evolution from the Romanesque style to the Gothic style in large churches, such as that of San Vicente or the Cathedral itself, in which the ambulatory was built with a variant style of Caleno granite that was given the name of ‘bloody’ owing to its rich red and white tones.
Any visit to the mediaeval town should start with THE WALLS as the prime example of military architecture from the Spanish Romanesque and a unique example of European mediaeval architecture. Its layout is fundamental for understanding a town whose walls stood as a military defence construction, health protection barrier, tax border and support for other buildings.
It has a perimeter of 2.5 km, 87 turrets, 9 gates and 3 small gates and it runs around an area covering 33 ha. Those are the numbers of the fortress, but they are not enough to learn about a monument that is an essential document for understanding the town and how it works.
Considered as the first Gothic cathedral in Spain, it stands on the remains of an original building that was devoted to El Salvador (The Saviour). In 1172, Alfonso VIII decided to extend the original building and commissioned the project to the French master builder, Fruchel. He was ordered to begin the consolidation of the current building in transitional Romanesque-Gothic style. After his death, a second stage of construction brought in new materials and the use of granite ashlars; the project continued in Gothic style.
Inside, visitors’ attention is drawn to the retrochoir, the main altar, the ambulatory with the sepulchre of ‘El Tostado’ and the Cathedral Museum.
The route takes us to the BASILICA OF SAN VICENTE, the leading example of the Ávila Romanesque style and, thanks to its measured proportions, a unique example of the Romanesque style in Spain. With its outside influences and the influence of the cathedral construction, it is also the propagator of the style in the town. It stands in the place where tradition situates the martyrdom and burial of Vincent, Sabina and Cristeta. The construction of the Basilica of San Vicente began around 1130 and continued until the end of the 12th century. The narrow upper end, with its three apses, stands on a liturgical funeral crypt. The storiated capitals of the main chapel, the sepulchre that tells the story of the saints, the west porch and the southern cornice, with a wealth of iconography, stand as the best examples of Romanesque sculpture in the church and also in the town.