Smithsonian Journeys Dispatches

Photo: Life in a Medieval Walled City

Students in the medieval town of Ávila

How often does an American high school student get to explore a medieval walled city? Ávila, Spain - one of our new Smithsonian Studies Abroad programs - is home to huge brown granite walls built in 1090AD to protect the Spanish territory from the invading Moors. These walls are known throughout Europe as having eighty-two semicircular towers, nine gateways, and for being in excellent condition. They are so unique in their well-preserved state that they became a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1985. Within the walls of the city is the Gothic cathedral, built between the 12th and 14th centuries, which was used not only as a religious site but as a military fortress as well.

Even though it had to protect itself from invaders back then, today the Ávila’s motto is “Una ciudad para todos...” – A city for everyone.

Learn more about our new Smithsonian Studies Abroad experiences for high school students in Spain, Italy and China!

Where would you like to study abroad?