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Segovia: a spectacular Roman aqueduct and much more

Segovia is a town of 55,000 inhabitants located 1,000 m. above sea level. The city is located at the northwestern base of the Sierra de Guadarrama, located between the Eresma and Clamores rivers.

The city was important since Roman times, when it was known by the name of Segobriga. It became part of the Roman Empire from 80 BC. Probably the city was abandoned after the Arab invasion, with the Christian “reconquista”, it was then the residence of the kings of Castile between the thirteenth and fifteenth centuries. Segovia is famous for its majestic Roman Aqueduct.

The old town of Segovia and its Aqueduct have been part of the UNESCO protected sites as a World Heritage Site since 1985.

WHAT TO SEE: THE MAIN ATTRACTIONS OF SEGOVIA

A SPECTACULAR ROMAN AQUEDUCT

The Roman aqueduct of Segovia, probably built in 50 AD during the reign of Trajan, it is the symbol of the city. It is located in the eastern part of the historic center, and is still working. The aqueduct represents one of the best preserved monuments of the Roman Empire. It was built in granite blocks to bring the water of the Riofrio torrent to the city whose source is 18 km away. The current aqueduct is 818 meters long with 128 arches, some of which are 28 meters high.

A HISTORICAL CENTER COMPLETELY SURROUNDED BY WALLS

Interesting is the whole ancient center of Segovia, completely surrounded by walls with three main gates, with narrow and picturesque streets. Typical of Segovia are the old houses with relief facades decorated with arabesques called “esgrafiados segovianos”. Two other iconic buildings in the city are the Cathedral and the Alcazar.

The Cathedral is an imposing late Gothic building (16th century). Large in size is also its bell tower over 100 meters high. The interior of the church has three naves and is illuminated by stained glass windows from the 16th-17th centuries, the choir, the Capilla Mayor and the Pity by Juan de Juni (1571) are noteworthy, the cloister is also worth seeing.

THE CASTLE OF THE ALCAZAR

At the opposite end of the city from the one where the aqueduct is located, high above a rocky eminence at the confluence of the Eresma and Clamores rivers, stands the castle of the Alcazar dating back to the eleventh century. The castle was renovated between 1352 and 1358 by King Henry II and enlarged in the first half of the fifteenth century by John II. In 1862 it was damaged by a fire, but was later restored. The exterior of the Alcazar has a ditch with a drawbridge, a patio and the beautiful square tower with four towers called Torre del Homenaje. The interior that can be visited has a chapel, several noble halls and houses the Museo de Armas and the Military Archive.

Very beautiful are the many Romanesque churches in the city including those of San Martin (XII century), San Millán (XII century), San Esteban with beautiful tower (XII century), Santísima Trinidad, San Andrés, San Clemente. On the opposite bank of the Eresma river there are the Monasterio del Parral in Gothic-Mudejar style (15th century) and the Romanesque church of Vera Cruz (1208) with frescoes from the 13th century.

TO SEE IN THE SURROUNDINGS OF SEGOVIA

The Real Sitio de La Granja de San Ildefonso is 11 km from Segovia on the way to Madrid. In this place Philip V in 1721 had a Royal Palace built there that wanted to recreate a small Versailles. The palace is surrounded by vast gardens (1,500 hectares) where there are 26 fountains. The Palace, designed by the Italian architect Filippo Juvara and built by Sacchetti, measures 155 meters in length. Inside, richly frescoed, is the Tapestry Museum (Museo de Tapices).

On the slopes of the Serra de Guadarrama a few km from Segovia is the Royal Palace of Riofrio (1754), in Italian style with a square plan, inside which are the Museo de Caza.

The area around Segovia is full of medieval towns with interesting castles including Coca, Cuellar, Turégano and Pedraza de la Sierra.

The climate of Segovia.

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