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It was planned as a cathedral-fortress, its apse being one of the turrets of the city walls. It is surrounded by a number of houses or palaces, the most important being: the Palace of the Evening, the Palace of the Infant King, and the Palace of Valderrábanos, which were responsible for the defence of the Puerta de los Leales (The Gate of the Loyal Ones) also known as La Puerta del Peso de la Harina (The Flour Road Gate).
It is not known exactly when the construction of the Cathedral began, there being two theories. One states that Alvar García started its construction in 1091 inside the remains of the Church of the Saviour, which was in ruins as a result of successive Muslim attacks, and that Alfonso VI of Castile raised the money necessary to build it. Other historians believe the Cathedral to be the work of the maestro Fruchel in the 12th century coinciding with the repopulation of Castille led by Raymond of Burgundy.
Of the 13th century are the first stages of the towers and aisles and of the 14th century the second stage of the towers, the cloister, the vaults and the flying buttresses. Already in the 15th century the cathedral was complete and in 1475 Juan Guas built the mechanical clock.
The Cathedral of Ávila is considered by its age (12th century), along with the Cathedral of Cuenca, as the first two Gothic cathedrals in Spain. It shows French influences and great resemblances to the Abbey Church of St Denis, the first European Gothic church.
Media related to Ávila Cathedral at Wikimedia Commons