Ávila Cathedral is Spain’s oldest Gothic Cathedral. Construction started in 1091 but wasn’t completed until the 14th century. It is very different from the lofty, glamourous Cathedrals of nearby Segovia and Salamanca which were built in the late Gothic period (16th century). It also predates other early Gothic Cathedrals such as the Cathedral of Burgos (1221 – 1260) and Cathedral of León (1205 -1301).
Ávila’s Cathedral is smaller and more fortress-like than any Cathedral I’ve seen in Spain. The Cathedral actually forms part of the heavily fortified walls of the city, the most complete medieval walls in Spain (and the principal reason why Ávila is a UNESCO World Heritage Site). When you walk the exterior walls of city, you can see the protruding shape of the apse breaking the plane of the walls.
The interior of Ávila Cathedral is gothic and romantic. It conjures up visions of knights in armour on horses. I love the arches, the massive stone blocks and pillars. I love the stained glass – in the main nave you’ll see colourless stained glass on one side, blue stained glass on the other.
Ávila Cathedral doesn’t make it on most Top 10 lists of Spanish Cathedrals. But it’s one of my favorites.
More: If you want much more detail on the church from an artistic and architectural viewpoint, see this post. It’s in Spanish but just press the Google translate button.
Note. It’s also worth visiting the walls of Ávila. You get a totally different perspective of the cathedral and its fortifications. More on that here.
Hours: 10 am to 9 pm Monday to Saturday, 12:30 to 9 pm Sundays
Cost of General Admission: 7 Euros
More: What to See in Ávila
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