It is located in a beautiful plain with the Tormes River at its feet, west of Campo Charro in Salamanca. Although its origin is uncertain, it may well correspond to a pre-Roman fort, Alvia, of the Vacceans, and then to a Roman settlement called Albocola, when Alba de Tormes began to have a certain importance, it was in the late Middle Ages when it became a crossing point on one of the Jacobean routes. Its first charters were granted by King Alfonso VII but the continuous wars between Castilians and Aragonese left it unpopulated so we can say that the current Alba de Tormes was founded with the repopulation carried out by Alfonso IX, King of Leon.
The 15th century saw the descendant of the first Count of Alba add to the house the ducal dignity granted to Don García by Henry IV. This title was given to Don Fernando Álvarez de Toledo, because of his warlike deeds and his work in favour of arts and letters, and he was called the "Grand Duke of Alba". The 16th century is for the town of Alba de Tormes the period of greatest cultural splendour, brought about by the 3rd Duke of Alba and the arrival in the town of Teresa Sánchez de Cepeda y Ahumada, Santa Teresa de Jesús, on the occasion of the marriage of her sister Doña Juana de Ahumada to Don Juan de Ovalle - the accountant of the House of Alba. Under the protection and sponsorship of this House, the Saint founded a monastery in this town to which the Carmelite nuns moved definitively in the year 1571 and in which Saint Teresa herself died some years later, specifically in 1582. With the creation of the current provinces in 1833, Alba de Tormes became part of the province of Salamanca, within the Region of León.
The panoramic view of Alba de Tormes can be seen from the river and the medieval bridge, also known as San Jerónimo, built over another bridge from the Roman period, resembles a beautiful romantic postcard. Romanticism and mysticism that seem to envelop this town that evokes a past rich in history, culture, art and religiosity, of which the stones of its churches and convents are faithful witnesses. The key point that marks the visit to Alba de Tormes is the convent of the Carmelite Mothers of the Anunciación, founded by Saint Teresa of Jesus herself and in which she died on the 4th of October 1582, thus becoming a centre of devotion and pilgrimage, as it is here that her incorrupt body is preserved and next to it two of her relics, her left arm and her heart. The church of the Anunciación, built between 1571 and 1582, has been enlarged and renovated to accommodate the large crowd of faithful and devotees of the Saint. The church of San Juan, of Romanesque-Mudejar style of the 13th century, which together with that of Santiago, probably the oldest of all, are the two that are preserved in the same style, since in Alba de Tormes, within the eighteen churches that it came to have, at least five were built architecturally in this style and period.
The church of San Pedro destroyed by fire and restored in the early 16th century. The church of San Juan de la Cruz, the first temple in the world dedicated to San Juan de la Cruz, a Carmelite saint, is part of the convent of the Discalced Carmelite Fathers. The convent of Santa Isabel, which dates back to 1481, still has two entrance doors, one in the church and the other in the convent. The church of Las Benitas. The unfinished Basilica of Santa Teresa, which began to be built in the 19th century on the garden of the convent of the Carmelites and some houses in the village, currently houses the Albanian headquarters of the Ages of Man. From the palace fortress of the Dukes of Alba today the Tower of Homage is preserved, of the six towers that it came to have, and some vestiges of the wall that surrounded it. Besides being able to discover all this architectural wealth and illustrious historical trajectory that Alba de Tormes accumulates, the cultural routes and hiking and pilgrimage tours, such as the Silver Route, make this town a point of great tourist attraction.
Alba de Tormes celebrates its patron saint's day in honour of Santa Teresa from 14th to 22nd October. From 25th to 27th August are the summer festivals or the Transverberation of SantaTeresa in which the spiritual grace is remembered by which the Saint, full of divine love, experienced how a dart pierced her heart. The 5th of February is traditionally celebrated as the feast day of Santa Agueda.
Year after year, in the August and October festivities held in Alba de Tormes in honour of Santa Teresa, the image of the Saint leaves the cloister and does not return to it until they are finished. Furthermore, in the large festivities, those of October, Santa Teresa becomes the mayor of the town.
It is a tradition in Alba de Tormes that Teresa de Jesús herself supervised the works of the convent and that John of the Cross helped in them as a bricklayer, as well as supporting the nuns with his prayer and listening to them in confession. A little more than a century later, the friars' convent, the first one dedicated to Juan de la Cruz, was built in front of the nuns' convent.
One of the twenty-three eyes of the medieval bridge over the Tormes, a river that contributes to the rich gastronomy of Alba de Tormes, fish, fried or pickled, has a name, it is the eye of the seven brothers, because it is said that at that point and under that arch the seven sons of the same family drowned, one after the other, in the attempt to fish an elusive barbel.
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Until Alba de Tormes arrive several roads that connect it with Salamanca and the villages of the region and with roads like the A-50 between Salamanca and Avila, the A-66 that connects Salamanca and Plasencia or the N-110 that connects Avila and Plasencia.
The Alba de Tormes bus station is located at Avenida Pablo II, 31 and is served by regular lines that connect it to Salamanca on a daily basis. The telephone number for further information is 923 300 280
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