Segovia is a World Heritage City, with unique monuments that alone make a visit well worthwhile, plus stately homes, outstanding views and a green belt which is ideal for a pleasant stroll in the sunshine.
The city, capital of Province of Segovia, is famous for its historical buildings and for three main landmarks: its magnificent Roman aqueduct, its cathedral, one of the last Gothic temples to be built in Europe, and the castle, Alcázar of Segovia. The city center of Segovia was declared World Heritage by the UNESCO in 1985.
The Aqueduct is one of the most spectacular legacies of the Roman Empire in Spain. It is made up of 166 arches, the highest being 29 metres high. It transported water defying the laws of gravity, since the only thing that keeps the structure standing is its balance of forces, as no kind of mortar was used in this construction of about 25,000 granite blocks. Legend says that Segovia’s Aqueduct is the result of a pact between a girl and the devil in which she offered him her soul in exchange for water to reach her house before the crack of dawn.
The best-conserved section of the Aqueduct is in Plaza Azoguejo square, although other sections of the monument are still standing and in good condition. These sections, however, have been restored, as you can note from the style of the arches or from the stones themselves. The rest of the aqueduct extends to the mountains for about 14 kilometres.
The royal palace Alcázar of Segovia was one of the favored residences of the kings of Castile, built in the transition from Romanesque architecture to Gothic and Mudéjar, and its silhouette was the inspiration source for Walt Disney’s Cinderella Castle. The building is structured around two courtyards and has two towers, and a keep. The splendid views over the city and the Church of Vera Cruz are reason enough to make your way to this old castle. A deep moat with its drawbridge provides access to this fortress, which became the royal residence in the 13th century, and from whose tower, Alfonso X studied the firmament, while Casa de la Química, built in the period of the Enlightenment, was Louis Proust’s research centre.
The Cathedral was built starting 1525 and the apse of this temple marks the boundaries between the Plaza Mayor and the Judería Vieja, or the Old Jewish Quarter. Inside, the 16th century stained glass windows and the Altarpiece designed by Sabatini are particularly noteworthy.
Cover image by McPolu via Wikimedia Commons