Avila Churches and Cathedrals
(Avila, Castilla y León, Spain)
With its rich religious heritage, Avila has several religious buildings, including a cathedral, churches, basilicas and monasteries.
Basílica de San Vicente (St. Vincent's Basílica)
Address: located outside Puerta de San Vicente (St. Vincent's Gate) in Avila
The Romanesque Basílica, purported to be raised on the martyrdom site where Vicente and his two sisters were slain in 303 AD by the Romans, features realistic statues of the apostles in the west portico.
Open hours: daily - 10:00 to 14:00 and 16:00 to 20:00
El Monasterio de Santo Tomás (Royal Monastery of St. Thomas)
Address: located 0.5 km / 0.3 miles south-east of Avila cathedral
This monastery was constructed in 1482 with funding from los Reyes Católicos, Fernando and Isabel, and is the burial place of their only son, Don Juan, who died here aged 19. The prince's tomb is modelled from alabaster carved by Florentine Domenico di Sandro Fancelli. The headquarters of the royals' adviser and confessor, the notorious Friar Tomás Torquemada, were also based here. Torquemada was Spain's first Grand Inquisitor who was the zealous leader of the witch-hunts of the 15th century. The Inquisitor is also buried here. This Avila monastery is a three-cloister complex with the third cloister's regal rooms housing the Dominican's museum dedicated to Oriental art.
Open hours: daily - 08:00 to 13:30 and 16:00 to 20:00
Avila Catedral (Cathedral)
Address: located at the eastern side of Avila
Erected between the 12th and 16th century, Avila cathedral is chiefly Gothic in architectural style with some Romanesque and baroque design. The cathedral is incorporated into the city walls at the Cimorro (fortified head) and possesses fine stained-glass windows. The work of the 16th-century Dutch master known as Cornelius de Holanda is to be found in the choir stalls which are carved to illustrate lives of the saints.
Adjacent to Avila cathedral, visitors can find the Museo Catedralicio (Cathedral museum) with its relics and works of art including an example of El Greco's work, sculpture and illuminated manuscripts. A highlight of the museum is a silver monstrance, which is as tall as a man, completed in 1571 by Juan de Arfe.
Open hours: daily - 08:30 to 14:00 and 16:00 to 19:00, shorter opening hours for the museum
Convento de Santa Teresa (Convent of St. Theresa)
Avila's Santa Teresa reformed the Carmelite order and the baroque Convento de Santa Teresa is one of its numerous convents. The convent was actually built in 1636 on the site that was the birthplace of Santa Teresa. Neighbouring the convent in Avila is a museum displaying religious relics amongst which is Teresa's ring finger.
Open hours: museum, daily - 09:30 to 13:30 and 15:30 to 19:30
Convento de San José (St. Joseph's Convent) or Convento de las Madres (The Mother's Convent)
Address: located 5 minutes east of Avila cathedral
Originating from 1562 this is the first of seventeen convents to be founded by Santa Teresa. She was canonized in 1622 and in 1970 was decreed a doctor of the church.
Open hours: museum, daily - 10:00 to 14:00 and 16:00 to 19:00, reduced hours during winter
Other Avila Religious Buildings
Please note most churches are open daily, approximately between 10:00 to 14:00 and 16:00 to 19:00.
- Iglesia de Santo Tomé El Viejo (St. Thomas El Viejo's Church) - located on Plaza de Italia, built in 12th century
- Iglesia de San Pedro (St. Peter's Church) - located on Plaza de Santa Teresa
- Iglesia de San Andrés (St. Andrew's Church) - located north of the old city, oldest church in Avila, built in the 11th century
- Iglesia de San Juan (St. John's Church) - located on Plaza de la Victoria, houses the baptismal font used in the baptism of Santa Teresa
- Convento de la Encarnación (Convent of the Incarnation) - located north of Avila city walls, Santa Teresa spent 30 years of her monastic life here