St. Michael's Church with its famous staircase towers majestically over Schwäbisch Hall's marketplace. It was consecrated on 10th February 1156 by the Bishop of Würzburg. From this period only the four bottom storeys of the Romanesque west tower have survived, along with the porch. From here the Archangel Michael – a stone sculpture from the late 13th century – watches over the trading on the marketplace and over the town as the guardian of justice. Outstanding works of Late Gothic art in the church interior include the large Netherlandish Passion Altar in the choir (c. 1460) and the Holy Sepulchre with its impressive mourners (1455/56).
From the marketplace the 53 steps of the vast staircase lead up to the Romanesque vestibule of the church, and another 160 steps take you up through the tower to the bell chambers and the former tower watchman's dwelling, which affords a magnificent view over the historic town centre. The staircase was constructed between 1507 and 1510/1511.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.