La Bruja


The walls of Avila

Apart from archaeological evidence that points to a primitive fence from the Late Antique (SV) period, and which would enclose a small space, the wall is essentially medieval. With a perimeter of 2,516 m (encompassing an area of 33 H), 87 towers or cubes, 9 gates and 2 porters, and 2,500 merlons, the Avila It is the best preserved walled enclosure in the world.
Murallas de ÁvilaPalaces attached to the interior would constitute a second defensive belt against possible popular revolts and/or inclusions of the enemy in the city.
Controversy is the dating of its construction. There are authors who, faithful to tradition, place it in the last years of the 11th century; Others believe that it is a work fundamentally from the second half of the 12th century - beginning of the 13th century, as are neighboring fortifications.
Founded on rock, it is a powerful fence made of granite masonry, solidified with stone and lime mortar. It has an irregular quadrilateral shape, almost a rectangle, oriented longitudinally EO. Its construction begins on the most vulnerable front, the East, where there is no natural defense, making this canvas the most robust and magnificent. With walls 3 m thick and 12 m high, every 20 m there is a façade tower in a semicircle that protrudes 8 m, arranging this canvas of the largest and most solid doors of the entire layout.
In the northern and western canvases, the doors lose their majesty, observing the traces of the Mudejar workers (the use of brick) on their towers. The southern canvas gives a feeling of exhaustion, decreasing the size of the masonry and with semi-cylindrical towers, smaller in volume and more widely spaced; as a whole it offers less robustness and resistance.
It is worth noting on the East canvas the large amount of reused materials from Roman chronology (stelas, altars, ash capsules, cupae, cornices, boars, columns, ...) and that would come from the dismantling of an early imperial necropolis that would extend nearby .
In the 16th century, it continued to fulfill functions of health security and economic control, carrying out reforms aimed at its repair, but, once the danger of war had disappeared, it was decided to dismantle some complementary defenses (barbicans, moats,...), which, in In reality, they were ineffective against the military machine of the time.
The repairs and restorations carried out prior to the declaration of a National Monument (March 24, 1884), were characterized by their punctual nature. Two events will cause the continuity of its defensive function: the French occupation (1809-1812) and the Carlist wars (1836-1840).
The works carried out later, supervised by the State, will be aimed at the maintenance, restoration and artistic conservation of the patrimonial asset, as well as to favor its contemplative purpose.
At the end of the 19th century, some intellectual circles advocated the demolition of the Wall, as was being done in other European cities, considering that they were a brake on urban development. The commitment of the City Council, and the lack of economic resources for its demolition, prevented those ideas from progressing.
In 1982 the historic center of the city was declared BIC, in the category of Historic Site, by Royal Decree 3940/1982, and in 1985 UNESCO declared the city of Avila World Cultural Heritage.
Visitable in much of its layout, and accessible to all citizens, it can be accessed through the Casa de las Carnicerías, the Puerta del Alcázar and the Puerta del Puente. Audio guides are available in 7 languages and a version adapted for children.

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