Sunday, 7 August 2011

This Blew Me Away....

Just occasionally you find something that completely blows you away.

Depending on what you are like, that might be a painting, a beautiful woman or man, a sunset, a landscape or just about anything that is stunning.

In the final few days of our motorcycle trip across Spain, Paul and I found a city called Ávila that was truly amazing because of the medieval wall built around it.

At the top of a nearby hill, we climbed off our bikes and just stood and looked at the amazing sight of the city before us. It blew me away....

(if you have never double-clicked on a blog photo before, now is the time)......














A short un-edited video overlooking the city....




The medieval wall surrounds the whole city and is about 40 feet or 12 metres high. There are 88 of the semi-circular towers built into the wall....





















Ávila dates back to the 5th century BC, when it was inhabited by The Vettones who were one of the pre-Roman Celtic peoples of the Iberian Peninsula. The main wall surrounding the city was started in 1090.







































The city also contains a high number of Roman and Gothic churches, one of which is extraordinary. The main Cathedral took 300 years to build between the 12th and 15th centuries. It contains a mixture of designs, reflecting the change in styles over the period of it's construction. This is the main entrance facade....



























Just inside the entrance is a wooden model of the Cathedral, which was helpful to get an overview of the complex shape and sizes of its various parts....






















The symmetry of the stone ceilings cannot fail to impress....
























The scale of the interior is very impressive....






























There is a stone screen that divides one part of the Cathedral from the main altar. The carving on the screen is exquisite and took 12 stonemasons five years to complete....
























A book of songs, from the 5th century....





















Ávila is a truly amazing place and we walked around the myriad of small narrow streets just looking at the incredible buildings and places to see. What a place this is....

































Even though we returned from Spain a few weeks ago, I wanted to include a couple of final posts of that trip. I am so behind in my blogging!

20 comments:

WooleyBugger said...

That is Wow factor. All the dedication that went into those walls and buildings just boggles my mind.

Geoff James said...

Most superlatives are not really deserved but in this case, I can't think of one which would not be justified. Simply magnificent and thanks for posting Gary.

Another reason for us to visit Spain apart from the Sagrada Familia and other Gaudi architecture.

bobskoot said...

Gary:

I would go nuts there. I would walk in a gate with my camera and never come out

bob
Riding the Wet Coast

VStarLady said...

Absolutely stunning - it is truly awe-some when you think that all of these structures were built ages ago before technology and heavy machinery ... and the history that has passed through the gates and behind the walls. Thanks for sharing.

mq01 said...

im at a loss for words... thank you for sharing such an incredible place in pics and video!

Raftnn said...

At a lost for words also, just amazing. Thanks for pposting.

Charlie6 said...

As the others have said, outstanding set of pictures Gary....that first one was most impressive. Now that...my friend, is a "gated community"! : )

dom


Redleg's Rides

Colorado Motorcycle Travel Examiner

Allen Madding said...

You just wow'ed my socks off. That is incredible! Thanks for sharing.

-Peace

Brady said...

Europe is an amazing travel destination. (Provided you love churches and old fortifications.) Germany doesn't quite have the same flair as Spain from the looks of things, but their churches are magnificent. That and their clocks. That's probably a metaphor for the country.

Beautiful stuff.

Brady
Behind Bars - Motorcycles and Life
http://www.behindbarsmotorcycle.com/

SonjaM said...

I am in awe, Gary. What a marvelous site, and nicely captured. I am with Bob on this, and take picures from all perspectives and at various times of the day.
The Spanish seem to do an impressive job conserving these monuments.

Trobairitz said...

WOW! That is truly amazing. I love architecture pictures and old building such as this never fail to put me in awe. The pictures in the cathedral especially of the ceiling are truly great.

I can't imagine how many man hours it took to build. And to think of the technology they had back then, it never fails to amaze me. They just don't built things like this anymore and the buildings and structures of today will certainly not withstand all this city and it's wall has since it was built.

Gary France said...

Wooley – I agree. How anyone went about even having the idea, sorting out the design and the finances to create this, let alone building the whole thing, is difficult to imagine.

Geoff – In its own way, I think Avila even surpasses the wonderful buildings in Barcelona and those Gaudi masterpieces.

Bob – You could certainly spend a very long time in there. It is wonderful.

VStarLady – I imagine nearly everything there was built by hand with only ropes and simple scaffold platforms as an aid. It is a truly amazing feat that it was built back then, especially the Cathedral.

Gary France said...

mq01 – I too was at a loss for words. The post didn’t need many as the pictures spoke volumes.

Roger – It is a magnificent place. No words needed.

Dom – LOL – quite a gated community!

Allen – Such is the amazing nature of the place, my boots came off as well.

Gary France said...

Brady – We are so lucky in Europe to have such diversification of people, places and cultures. All of this with a few days motorcycle ride. Like many people, I do enjoy looking at churches as they portray much about the life of the people that were around when they were built.

Sonja – Sadly, Paul and I were only there for a nights stop and we have both said we will probably go back with our families for a longer visit. I am sure many pictures will be taken then.

Trobairitz – It is an amazing place and I was surprised that it seems to be almost Spain’s best kept secret. You are right – today’s buildings will just not last as long. There is certainly something very appealing about a building that is many centuries od and still in such good condition.

BeemerGirl said...

Absolutely breathtaking! I would first walk around with my head back and mouth gaping. So beautiful! Couldn't even think of picking up the camera.

Then the shrewd person in me wonders how much it costs to live inside the wall versus outside.

Jack Riepe said...

It never ceases to amaze me what the common man can accomplish with a piece of chalk, a string, mortar, stones, and an endless supply of patience and labor. I had never heard of this city before reading about it here... And now I want to see it for myself.

These are the sadest words a biker can read: "In the final days of our trip.."

Fondest regards,
Jack/Reep
Twisted Roads

Gary France said...

Lori / SCC – Ha, we did exactly that and just walked around at first, marvelling in what we were looking at. It was the next morning we took our pictures, apart from the ones looking at the city from a distance. It is a truly stunning place with so much to see. I suspect you are right about the relative costs of living inside / outside.

Jack – I too had never heard of Avila and stumbled upon it almost by happy accident. I will almost certainly return to it one day. Yes, those words are sad, but the end of one trip leaves the mind clear to start to plan the next!

bluekat said...

That is so cool! Can you imagine approaching the city on horse back ( or maybe a wandering wayfarer on foot). It's like stepping back in time. It looks fresh and maintained, rather than ruined. Then you see the cranes and cars which seem so incongruous in that setting. Great find!

Love the cathedral shots. The interior images are amazing. I don't know if I'll ever make it to Europe, but the great cathedrals would be on my must see list.

Gary France said...

Bluekat – The town would seem impenetrable if you approached on foot or on a horse. It would just seen huge and daunting. Europe is less than half a day away, so you MUST make it – there is so much to see and do and to deny yourself experiencing that would be such a shame. It is so easy to do.

Theresa Barranco said...

I will never Understand Why My Linares, Barranco, Jiminis Escobar Crues Family of mine ever left Spain.