27th & 28th July 2013: Segovia (Spain)

27th July 2013: Echoes of a Roman Past

We took the train early on Saturday and arrived in Segovia in mid-morning. Segovia is a Spanish city of the Inner Plateau, located in the autonomous community of Castilla León. It has gained fame because of its many monuments and landmarks, the main being the Roma aqueduct in almost perfect condition, the cathedral and the castle (which may have served to inspire certain mouse-company for the Cinderella Castle). The city centre has been a world Heritage site from 1985 and the aqueduct received the title of International Historic Civil Engineering Landmark in 1999.

We checked into the hotel, which was dead in the centre of the Main Square and then we visited the Catedral de la Virgen María, the cathedral. The building was constructed between 1525 and 1577 in a late Gothic style that had already phased out in the rest of Europe. We saw the cloister, the chapels and the apse.

Then we moved onto the Iglesia de San Martín, St Martin’s church, built in the 12th century in the Romanesque style, with a Romanesque-Mudejar tower bell.

We then took a walk around the city centre, and we came across the Palacio de Cascales, a 15th century palace that belonged to the Alpuente Count.

We passed by the Casa de los Picos, the “House of Peaks”, also built in the 15th century.

We somehow ended having these nice views of the rooftops of the city, too.

And passed by a very interesting house.

We finally got to the main event, the Aqueducto, the aqueduct. An aqueduct is a “water bridge”, a construction designed to carry water from one side of a valley or a ravine to the other. The Aqueducto was built by the Romans in the late first or early second century. It once transported water from the Frio River into the city, and it ran for a whooping 15 kilometres. It is one of the best preserved aqueducts in the world, as it was reconstructed several times through history, and it was working to get water to the city up to the 19th century.

We passed by the Casa de Ejercicios del Seminario one of the buildings of the Seminary.

We reached the Main Square, the Plaza Mayor again.

And saw the Romanesque Iglesia de San Andrés, St Andrew’s church, with a particularly nice bell tower.

After this we decided to take a break and have the typical pork meat lunch. Then we moved on towards the Alcázar. An alcázar is a type of castle or fortress built during the Muslim rule in Spain and Portugal. The Alcázar of Segovia has been through several redesigns and renovations, but it is a pretty impressive building. The current form was reached during the reign of King Alfonso VIII, so it dates from the 13th century, but it was retweaked by several kings and queens after that. It was the royal residency until the Spanish court moved to Madrid in 1561.

On the way we could see some views and the Iglesia de la Vera Cruz, the True Cross Church.

The Alcázar is quite an impressive building, in Herrerian style, with impressive towers. Part of it is a history museum the other part is a military museum.

It also offers nice views of the cathedral from the other side.

We walked back to the city centre and along the aqueduct again.

This trip was in July, and scorching hot back home, so we had not considered much of a temperature change. Unfortunately, Segovia in the late afternoon became more than chilly and we had to walk into a random shop to buy a thin jacket, then headed off to the Plaza Mayor.

Funnily, when we were having dinner there, someone warned us that the shop assistant had left the alarm tag on my jacket! That was amusing. We called it a day heading off to the hotel, and being duly impressed by the illumination put in place for the cathedral.

28th July 2013: Churches while the city sleeps

On Sunday morning, most everything was closed, so we took a strolling tor if the Medieval area, and saw a bunch of churches from the tenth and eleventh centuries:

Iglesia de la Trinidad (Trinity Church).

Convento de las Carmelitas Descalzas (Barefoot Carmelite Monastery).

Iglesia de San Nicolas (St. Nicholas’ Church)

Iglesia de San Quirce (St. Quirce’s Church)

Iglesia de San Esteban (St. Stephen’s Church)

We also had yet a different view of the Cathedral.

And we could see the Alcázar in all its glory.

Then we returned to the city centre, where we caught a glimpse of the Iglesia de los Santos Justo y Pastor (St. Just and St. Pastor’s Church).

We had lunch and said one last good-bye to the Aqueduct before we headed back to the train station.