July 19, 2010
Upon leaving El Escorial, we traveled a short distance to Segovia. Segovia is known for two major monuments, the first being its Roman aqueduct. This aqueduct was built to deliver water from mountain rivers to the town below. It was built on an incline of 1 degree, so that the water could flow downward gently until it reached the town. We drove by where the aqueduct actually starts, as a low wall, then gradually getting higher and the arches, which start out tiny, eventually reach tremendous height, and there are actually two sets stacked on top of each other in the center of town. The aqueduct was built without cement or mortar, just rocks that fit together. Driving under the arches is now prohibited for obvious reasons – imagine a car forcefully crashing against one of these 2000 year old arches! The results could be catastrophic! The aqueduct is no longer in operation; at the beginning of the 20th center, a modern water delivery system was built.
The next monument is the cathedral. It is a magnificent Gothic structure with flying butresses on the outside. We didn’t go in because it is not really very beautiful inside, with a mixture of styles that create a sort of mismatch.
The 3 cultures – Jewish, Muslim and Christian – were also important here. The old synagogue is now the Church of Corpus Christi. It stands at the edge of the
old Jewish quarter, which was actually very small here. Across the square is the church at which Queen Isabella was crowned in 1474.
The other famous monument of Segovia is its fairy tale Alcazar. This fortress had a natural defense because it is surrounded by a deep moat formed by two rivers. The Alcazar has been the inspiration for Walt Disney as the epitome of a fairy tale castle. It is not known exactly when the Alcazar was built, but the first documents from there date to the 12th century during the reign of Alfonso VI, a little after the reconquest of Segovia by the Christians from the hands of the Moors. Since that time all the monarchs of Spain have spent part of the year here, because of its beauty, its security and the good hunting in the surrounding forests. Every monarch has changed or added something to it.
There are several rooms that can be visited and you can also climb the tower for beautiful views of the city for 2 euros. Dale and I elected to stay behind with Edith (one of the directors) due to the fact that there are over 150 steps in a dark, circular staircase!! We sat outside, ate our sandwiches and fed our extra bread to the birds.
Segovia was nice, and I did some shopping, but in the end, I think El Escorial was a lot more interesting. Segovia, however, was a wonderful place for photography! I have included several of the pictures I or my husband took while there.