Europe

The Five Villas of Ávila, a constellation in a valley

Who said that constellations are only made up of groups of stars and heavenly bodies? The Five Villas of Ávila constitute a magnificent example of great landscape beauty. Sometimes it is necessary to look at the whole over the individual to be able to verify it, as it happens with the constellations.

Something similar takes place in this beautiful valley made up of five rural stars with great architectural appeal and located south of the province of Ávila. Cuevas del Valle, Mombeltrán, San Esteban del Valle, Santa Cruz del Valle and Villarejo del Valle are the towns that make up this unique ‘earthly constellation’ and which we want to talk to you about.

1. Cuevas del Valle, above the clouds

This town is the highest in the region. It is located at 848 meters of altitude, It crowns the group of villages in the valley and stands at the foot of the Pico pass. So much so, that when advection fog occurs, it seems that the town floats on the clouds.

 

In it we can walk the Roman road of the Pico port, whose main use was that of a royal ravine for the transhumant passage of the cattle of the Mesta.

Other attractions of the town are found in the old quarter, where you can enjoy its popular architecture such as the old Town Hallthe set of arcades and cantilevered balconies or its sinuous and steep streets.

Secondly, the municipality is also home to a gothic-style church dating from the 16th century fifteenthtwo hermitages, dedicated to San Antón and the Virgen de las Angustias and a picturesque rectangular bullring.

2. Villarejo del Valle, shelter of the Five Villas of Ávila

Below Cuevas and sheltered by the Collado del Pinar is Villarejo del Valle. Here the greatest attraction is found in its popular streets and its famous running of the bulls. during their summer parties. On the other hand, it houses artistic relics such as the church of San Bartolomé, in Elizabethan Gothic style. Inside it houses three baroque altarpieces and an organ.

in its streets we will find some curious monuments that attest to the work that has characterized this town throughout its history, as well as its native fauna. Some of them are the sculpture in forge of the muleteers and another of the mountain goat, very widespread in this area.

Also, in its square you can visit the roll or jurisdictional pillory. This symbolizes the independence of Mombeltrán, which is its county seat, next to it you will see a fountain from 1837.

3. San Esteban del Valle

This town is the furthest star in our peculiar constellation. It is covered with vineyards and olive groves on all sides. With this data, we can get an idea of ​​where the economic base of a small municipality of 720 inhabitants emanates from.

Among its attractions is the 15th century St. Stephen’s Church and Elizabethan Gothic style. From it you can see a spectacular view of the entire valley. Inside, it preserves the baptismal font where it is said that the patron saint of the town, Saint Peter the Baptist, was baptized.

Saint Stephen It also preserves other very charming places, such as the caves of the Arroyoformerly used as a pantry and now rehabilitated, or the pilón, a granite fountain dating from the early 16th century.

4. Santa Cruz Valley

It is the town located further south. Its urban area is very picturesque. This exhibits wall paintings of ethnographic themes on its facades, which provide greater originality if possible to its entire complex.

The physiognomy of this town is a real spectacle: winding streets, corners, passageways and fountains create a delightful labyrinthine feeling. In addition, it has other attractions such as the olive oil museum, a jurisdictional scroll sculpted in blue granite or its church, which dates from the 16th century.

5. Mombeltrán, capital of the Five Villas of Ávila

At the bottom of the ravine the town of Mombeltrán stands majestically. is still keeps the aroma of its stately past, because it was the head of these lands and where Juana la Beltraneja took refuge in the succession to the throne of Castile.

Previously, and thanks to the income from the montazgo tax, the interest of the Castilian nobility in these territories was aroused, which is why in 1393 this town obtained the villazgo charter.

Its most representative monumental emblem is the castle of the Dukes of Alburquerque, from the end of the 15th century, with a rectangular floor plan and towers at its four corners. From it you can see all the lands of the valley.

Also we can visit the Pilgrim Hospital of San Andrés, founded in 1517, the church of San Juan Bautista, declared a Historic-Artistic Monument or the Cruz del Rollo. The latter constitutes the symbol of obtaining the town title.

As we have seen, the architectural and urban attractiveness of the streets of these small mountain towns is spectacular, but that is not all. This region is the essential refuge for lovers of hikingmountain cuisine and nature in its purest form.

So, The Cinco Villas de Ávila is the perfect place to enjoy good moments of leisure and relaxation away from the big and noisy cities. Without a doubt, it is one of the terrestrial constellations located a few light years from excellent travelers like you.

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