The aisled St. Mary's Church of square ground plan whose lateral walls have been preserved almost to their original height. The size of the church (11x 24 m) indicates a large population of the nearby castrum erecting this edifice in the 5th - 6th centuries.
The altar area is two steps higher and is divided from the church nave by a partly preserved triumphal arch. The altar basis is preserved in situ. The atrium of the basilica holds a small collection of stone monuments, exhibiting, among other, church finds, transennae, stone window grids.
The front part of the basilica and around it was the site of an Early Christian cemetery 300 m long, stretching as far as the southeastern corner of the castrum.
The beginning of the 9th century saw the renovation of numerous churches, among them St. Mary's. It was refurbished with new stone furnishing bearing the recognizable interlace pattern. The large pagan population must have caused missionary activities carried out by the Benedictines from the many monasteries. If not earlier, this is when the Benedictine monastery was founded stretching north and south of the church.
In the 13th century the basilica belonged to the Templars, but when their order was abolished in 1312, life in the monastery faded away.
Near this church, a smaller aisleless church dedicated to St. Peter was built whose floor was decorated by a tricolored mosaic.References:
The city walls of Avila were built in the 11th century to protect the citizens from the Moors. They have been well maintained throughout the centuries and are now a major tourist attraction as well as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visitors can walk around about half of the length of the walls.
The layout of the city is an even quadrilateral with a perimeter of 2,516 m. Its walls, which consist in part of stones already used in earlier constructions, have an average thickness of 3 m. Access to the city is afforded by nine gates of different periods; twin 20 m high towers, linked by a semi-circular arch, flank the oldest ones, Puerta de San Vicente and Puerta del Alcázar.