Ávila, a World Heritage monument, is one of the oldest and most beautiful cities in Spain. Its world famous walls stand guard over the centuries-old artistic and cultural heritage found inside. Walking along its narrow, winding streets, one easily sees vestiges from its past… The Celtic Iberians were the first to leave their mark, which can be seen in the stone boars and the nearby Castro de las Cogotas (hill fort), epicentre of the Vettone culture.
The Romans also reached this area and the Arabs filled the area with their culture until the final conquest by the Christians, with their Romanesque and Gothic churches, monasteries, convents, and Renaissance palaces. Not only is it a journey through the history and culture of Spain, but also that of Europe.
The contemporary construction of the Wall of Defence coinciding with that of the Nôtre Dame Cathedral and was an important factor in the city's development. For almost a millennium it was a means of protection for the city and a way of inspecting trade exchanges. The 2.5 km rectangular walls (the equivalent of a 1-hour walk) contain nine gateways and over 2,000 crenellations keep watch over Ávila’s horizon as in past times. The Puerta del Alcázar and the gateway next to the Basílica de San Vicente are a must for every visitor.
Ávila is likewise the birthplace of two great figures: Santa Teresa and San Juan de la Cruz, who through their poetry and writings on mysticism brought the Spanish language to one of its highest levels. Today both of these saints are remembered in the city, many are the historical spots where one can follow in their footsteps.