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Avila information

Holy Week

Ávila, which was named in 1985 by UNESCO as a City of Heritage of Humanity, has been compared many times with Jerusalem, due to its hill location, the wall that surrounds it, its many monasteries in the streets, and the religious history and people.

Avila's Holy Week has been declared of touristic interest in Castilla y León.

One outstanding event is the procession on Wednesday that leaves form the Mosén Rubí convent and carries the Cristo de las Batallas. The image is a small bust made from solid clay from the 15th century, and which carries its own history as it is said that it accompanied the Catholic Monarchs in their campaigns of war. Oral tradition, which has never been documented but is based on fact, says that the bust was present in the battle of Lepanto. Nowadays in the procession there is also a life-size reproduction, which shows Jesus on his walk to the Calvary. During several years the old image was not present in the procession, being replaced by the new one. But customs become law, and the original sculpture of Cristo de las Batallas returned to the procession.

In Thursday's procession there are three floats which particularly stand out among the others, all very old and artistic. These three resemble in movement and composition the style of the famous sculptor of the 18th century Francisco Salzillo, and are named the Cenacle, the Arrest or the Kiss of Judas and the Fall.

The Christ of the Executed, also called Christ of the Good Death, is a dramatic piece of work that shows Jesus on the cross, and transmits a strong sensation of peace to the viewer. It owes its two names to its history that the image used to be taken out by the fraternity of Vera Cruz in the 16tht century to be with those condemned to death in their last hours. The cross is now a part of the procession of the Vía Crucis de Penitencia that proceeds around the city on Friday, following the city wall.

On Tuesday is the procession of the Miserere, with the float of Santa María Magdalena.The procession of the Passion and Holy Burial on Friday is the procession with the highest number of floats, including almost twenty.

The Holy Week organisers try, and succeed, to make the processions, the participation of the fraternities, and the public spectators have the solemn character owing to a commemoration of such pain in the history of the world. The city that gave birth to Santa Teresa de Jesús maintains the proper spirit of the Passion without excessive innovations. Only those brought by art, as the floats are mostly from the last five centuries. Tradition still states that once Holy Week is over, the townspeople gather in the hermitage of el Resucitado for the oven-cooked pasties made from different sausages baked in pastry.

Source: Web server of Instituto de Turismo de España, TURESPAÑA.

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