Ávila (province)

Ávila (province)

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Ávila (ˈaβila) is a province
Provinces of Spain
Spain and its autonomous communities are divided into fifty provinces .In other languages of Spain:*Catalan/Valencian , sing. província.*Galician , sing. provincia.*Basque |Galicia]] — are not also the capitals of provinces...

 of central-western Spain
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

, in the southern part of the autonomous community
Autonomous communities of Spain
An autonomous community In other languages of Spain:*Catalan/Valencian .*Galician .*Basque . The second article of the constitution recognizes the rights of "nationalities and regions" to self-government and declares the "indissoluble unity of the Spanish nation".Political power in Spain is...

 of Castile and León
Castile and León
Castile and León is an autonomous community in north-western Spain. It was so constituted in 1983 and it comprises the historical regions of León and Old Castile...

. It is bordered on the south by the provinces of Toledo and Cáceres, on the west by Salamanca, on the north by Valladolid, and on the east by Segovia and Madrid. Ávila has a population of 165,138 (2002). Its capital is Ávila.

Geography


Ávila is naturally divided into two sections, differing completely in soil and climate. The northern portion is generally level; the soil is of indifferent quality, strong and marly in a few places, but rocky in all the valleys of the Sierra de Ávila; and the climate alternates from severe cold in winter to extreme heat in summer. The population
of this part is mainly agricultural. The southern division is one mass of rugged granitic sierras, interspersed, however, with sheltered and well-watered valleys, abounding with rich vegetation.
The winter here, especially in the elevated region of the Paramera and the waste lands of Ávila, is long and severe, but the climate is not unhealthy.

The principal mountain chains are the Guadarrama, separating this province from Madrid; the Paramera and Sierra de Ávila
Sierra de Ávila
The Sierra de Ávila is a mountain range in the centre of the Iberian Peninsula. Its highest point is Cerro de Gorría, at 1727 metres....

, west of the Guadarrama; and
the vast wall of the Sierra de Gredos
Sierra de Gredos
The Sierra de Gredos is a mountain range in the centre of the Iberian Peninsula, located between Ávila, Cáceres, Madrid and Toledo. It has been declared a regional park. Its highest point is Pico Almanzor, at 2,592 metres....

 along the southern frontier, where its outstanding peaks rise to 6000 or even 8000 ft. Pico Almanzor
Pico Almanzor
Pico Almanzor is the highest mountain in central Spain. Situated in the Sierra de Gredos in the province of Ávila, Almanzor is high. It is made of granite. The mountain is also known as Pico de Almanzor and Moro Almanzor.-History:...

 is the highest point. The ridges which ramify from the Paramera are covered with valuable forests of beeches, oaks and firs, presenting a striking contrast to the bare peaks of the Sierra de Gredos.

The principal rivers are the Alberche and Tiétar, belonging to the basin of the Tagus
Tagus
The Tagus is the longest river on the Iberian Peninsula. It is long, in Spain, along the border between Portugal and Spain and in Portugal, where it empties into the Atlantic Ocean at Lisbon. It drains an area of . The Tagus is highly utilized for most of its course...

,
and the Tormes, Trabancos and Adaja, belonging to that of the Douro
Douro
The Douro or Duero is one of the major rivers of the Iberian Peninsula, flowing from its source near Duruelo de la Sierra in Soria Province across northern-central Spain and Portugal to its outlet at Porto...

. The mountains contain silver, copper, iron, lead and coal, but their mineral wealth has been exaggerated, and at the
beginning of the 20th century mining had practically been abandoned. Quarries of fine marble and jasper exist in the district of Arenas.

History


The province declined in wealth and population during the 18th and 19th centuries, a result due less to the want of activity on the part of the inhabitants than to the oppressive manorial and feudal rights and the strict laws of entail and mortmain, which acted as barriers to progress.

See also

  • List of municipalities in Ávila
  • Sierra de Gredos
    Sierra de Gredos
    The Sierra de Gredos is a mountain range in the centre of the Iberian Peninsula, located between Ávila, Cáceres, Madrid and Toledo. It has been declared a regional park. Its highest point is Pico Almanzor, at 2,592 metres....

  • Bulls of Guisando
    Bulls of Guisando
    The Bulls of Guisando are a set of celtiberian sculptures located on the hill of Guisando in the municipality of El Tiemblo, Ávila, Spain. The sculptures, made of granite, represent quadrupeds identified as bulls or pigs...