Travels with Tim and Lisa

"If my discoveries are other people's commonplaces I cannot help it – for me they retain a momentous freshness" (Elizabeth Bowen)

Avila’s medieval walls 15.10.10

Posted by Lisa Hill on October 16, 2010

Walls, in general are not particularly interesting, right?   Avila’s are magnificent.  It is awe-inspiring to wander around them, the best preserved complete fortifications in Europe and imagine the citizens inside them fending off their enemies with boiling oil and other defensive apparatus!   They were started in 1090 and finished off by the C14th, and now UNESCO has declared them and the rest of Avila a World Heritage site. 

Here they are:

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Off to Madrid tomorrow!

5 Responses to “Avila’s medieval walls 15.10.10”

  1. I agree our walls tend to be boring but, like you, I find some wonderful ones overseas that beg to be photographed. Fences too! Looks like a lovely site and as though you had some beautiful sun.

    • Lisa Hill said

      I like the whole idea of the medieval mind believing that it was possible to seal out the ‘world’. If the walls were high enough and thick enough, you were safe.
      Though there is that terrific book by Ismail Kadare called The Siege, which shows the creative ways that were used to get in, get over get under, or starve ’em out etc! (Actually *water* was most often a problem for those within.)

  2. I haven’t read Kadare but that book sounds great. Of course, Geraldine Brooks’ The year of wonders was based on that town in England that tried to close itself off to keep the plague out. Then somewhat differently is Japan closing itself off from the outside world for a few centuries. Fascinating….

    • Lisa Hill said

      Sue, I think you would really appreciate The Siege. At one level it’s a very interesting story about how the outsiders sabotage the insiders within the castle, explaining how they dug tunnels and build catapults etc, and if if you are interested in medieval history that’s fascinating.
      At another level it’s a metaphor for sabotaging the repressive government in Albania, and I found that an optimistic idea. Seeing artworks from the civil war era here in Spain, and really absorbing the idea that the war was lost and the Spanish lived under the Franco dictatorship for so long has made me more sensitive to the need for hope…

      • Thanks for that Lisa … I rather guessed there was probably a metaphorical element so am glad you’ve confirmed that. Not sure when I’ll get to read it but I’ll keep my eyes out for it and an opportunity to read it.

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