A tour to Segovia: history, heritage and gatronomy
Segovia is the capital of the province with the same name. Segovia has played a very important role in Spanish history since ancient times.
Segovia is located on a strategic location in between 2 rivers: the Eresma river and the Clamores river. The Romans found great resistance to conquer Segovia, that was at that time at the center of Celtic and Iberian resistance against the roman invasion.
The Romans finally conquered Segovia in 80 BC and after taking their time to rebuild it, they made of Segovia one of the most important cities in Roman Spain. Segovia was a meeting point for 2 of the main military roads in Spain.
Today´s major landmark, the aqueduct of Segovia is one of the finest buildings of Roman times. The structure was in use by the people of Segovia till not long ago. Water is taken from river Riofrio (the “cold-river”) located 17 kilometers away and next to the mountains. At its highest point the aqueduct is 28 meters high ( 97 feet) and it consist of a 2 storey structure for more than 250 meters. Water for the City of Segovia was stored at the “Caseron” and then cleaned at a second tower.
The structure is built in such way that no mortar was used and despite many arches were destroyed during the Arab conquest, they were later rebuilt during the XVth Century.
The Aqueduct is the most visited site in any tour of Segovia. There is no entrance fee since it is “simply” a vast structure with no interior.
Segovia´s importance in the history of Spain declined during the Visigoth rule and this decline continued during all the Arba occupation. But all its previous importance came back and reached a new peak following the conquest of Segovia by the Christians. Segovia became then the residence of several monarchs.
In 1474 Isabella (Isabel la Católica) was proclaimed Queen in the famous Alcazar de Segovia.
The Alcazar is also one of Segovia´s great sights and a must see in a Segovia Tour from Madrid. Alcazar comes from the arab word castle or fortress and the Alcazar of Segovia´s location was well chosen for this purpose. The Alacazar is strategically positioned at the confluence of the Eresma and Clamores rivers. It is not clear when its construction first began, though it is believed that it was already after the Roman period.
The Alcazar was enlarged by Alfonso VIII between 1122 and 1155 and it was Alfonso X (known as the “Wise”) who opened the Romanesque and mudejar arched windows in the façade of the old palace. It was during the Trastamara reing that the Alcazar reached its splendor, with beautiful rooms added.
The Alcazar of Segovia was the royal residence till 1570. As previously mentioned Isabella was crowned here in 1474 and became Queen of Castile.
Ferdinand V of Aragon took the oath , the “Fueros de Castilla” at the Alcazar.
Segovia would see again the end of part of its importance after the revolt of the Comuneros. This revolt happened in 1520 and was initiated by the nobles of Segovia. Charles V arrived from Germany to Spain as Charles I and local Segovian nobles, as well as many others in Spain were not very happy about the arrival of the new king. The revolt was stopped and Segovia would not regain its importance till the 18th Century with the building of La Granja summer palace and the foundation of the Artillery Accademy by Charles III in 1762.
Today Segovia is one of the most visited Cities in Spain. Less than an hour´s drive from Madrid and with excellent connections via bus or train from Spain´s capital, Segvia receives hundreds of thousands of visitors every year that arrive to admire its heritage (to both the Alcazar and the aqueduct we should add the cathedral, and many other interesting buildings) and also to enjoy its locally famous gastronomy.