Salamanca, Toledo, and Avila
Salamanca is a marvelously preserved ancient city.
While it features Renaissance buildings, this was once
a center of the Roman Empire, which ruled Spain for
centuries. So I was pleased to find this historic
Roman bridge, still in use for bikes and pedestrians.
Rome itself has only saved one of these bridges.
Nearly every Spanish city features a Plaza Mayor
(central square). In Salamanca, their square is
decorated with images Spain's great historic heroes.
Former fascist dictator Francisco Franco remains on
the wall. But as you can see, Franco's likeness is always
defaced. The white paint is a strong political statement.
Toledo was a great center of learning under the Moors,
shared by Moslem, Christian, and Jewish scholars, a symbol
of tolerance. It remains extremely well preserved, a time
capsule. Under Spanish rule, Toledo evolved into the
capital city, remembered for the Catholic Church's
inquisition. When the capital was moved to Madrid in 1561,
Toledo languished, but never modernized. Now the entirety
of Toledo is one of the largest World Heritage Sites.
The interior of Toledo's cathedral is a striking presentation.
By 1099, the Spanish had retaken Avila from the
Moors and built a most impressive defensive wall.
900 years later, Avila's ancient walls remain
intact and unchanged, unlike any other city in
Spain. There are still 88 towers and 9 gates.
If you have a high speed internet connection, watch the
Intrepid Berkeley Explorer's free streaming video of this
trip to Spain, Morocco, and Portugal, "From Flamenco to
Fez", by clicking on AdventurePics.com .