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Bonilla de la Sierra

Ávila

Audioguide of Bonilla de la Sierra

What to see in Bonilla de la Sierra

Some things in Bonilla de la Sierra do not fit with what is usually the typical Castilian village. For example, the remains of some old city walls, a big castle and an exceptional Gothic church. But, what are all these things doing here?

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Some things in Bonilla de la Sierra do not fit with what is usually the typical Castilian village. For example, the remains of some old city walls, a big castle and an exceptional Gothic church. But, what are all these things doing here?

To find out we need to travel to the unruly, complicated and exciting Middle Ages. More specifically, to the times when the bloody Muslim attacks were still persistent. In other words, a time when you couldn’t live in peace if you didn’t have good and strong defences. It was precisely for this reason that the bastions and fortress of Bonilla were built, around the twelfth century. They were times that no matter when you were born, you were going to see troubles.

However, the destiny of the town was going to be joined with the ecclesiastical power. It became the property of the Bishopric of Ávila, who reinforced the walls and built the splendid Collegiate Church of San Martín. Although Bonilla, whose name apparently comes from Bona Villa, ended up being something else: the summer retreat of the bishops, who used the castle in the town to spend their holidays in the fresh air. Some of them, they say, used to stretch the resting season a little and ended up living longer in the village than in the capital.

But the point is that the small group that accompanied the prelates served the place to expand its importance, to grow and to develop its trade. Kings, religious authorities and powerful nobles debated in Bonilla’s Castle, so the surroundings had to be up to their level. Alonso Fernández de Madrigal, known as El Tostado, also lived and died here. He was bishop of Avila and an outstanding intellectual in the fifteenth century, his wisdom became so famous that it gave birth to the popular Spanish phrase “to know more than El Tostado”.

Truth is that the condition of the Bonilla fortress is not at its best and that the town’s golden age has been left far behind, but this is still an inspiring and impressive place. The Plaza Mayor, with the classic arcades, is the best place to see the Collegiate Church of the fifteenth century, and if you walk through the medieval cobbles of the streets, you will also see many coats of arms and some old places. All you have to do is go to the beautiful bridge of Chuy, of Romanesque origin, to say that you know more from Bonilla de la Sierra than El Tostado.


Bonilla de la Sierra

Calle Mayor, 1 (Ayuntamiento)
05514 Bonilla de la Sierra
(+34) 920 362 708

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