Our expert from Southern Spain, Robin Graham, travels north to dazzle us with the wonders of Spanish architecture in Segovia. When you see these ancient buildings, try to picture the construction process. His facts help us conjure people hauling thousands of stones.
By Robin Graham
At seventy kilometres from Madrid and well served by bus and train, Segovia makes a convenient day trip or overnight getaway from the bustle of Spain’s frenetic capital. It’s been designated as a World Heritage site since 1985, for its collection of civil and religious buildings, a former synagogue as well as a clutter of Christian treasures and for its striking Alcazar, rebuilt in the 19th century after extensive fire damage and providing inspiration to Walt Disney when the American was designing Cinderella’s Castle for Disney Land.
Today the refurbished interior – including the Sala de las Piñas with 392 carved pinecones on its ceiling – can be visited and the tower can be climbed for views of the city and valley.
Walking back into the old Castilian city there is the obligatory Plaza Mayor with its covered galleries and restaurant terraces and at one end of it the magnificent Gothic cathedral, the last in the style to be built in Spain. But it isn’t till we walk further, through the old town and down to Plaza Azoguejo, that we discover just why Segovia is a must see.
People-watching in the plaza reveals a stark contrast; Segovians go about their business, apparently oblivious to the wonder before them, while tourists stand stock still, necks craned and heads back. 818 metres long, 29 metres at the highest point and consisting of 25,000 blocks put together without a single drop of mortar into 170 arches, the remaining stretch of a monumental Roman aqueduct is the undeniable emblem of modern Segovia. It towers over the square, a bridge through the ages, the mind-boggling juxtaposition of an ancient technology on the present day.
Alcazar website: http://www.alcazardesegovia.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/english.pdf
Bus info: http://www.lasepulvedana.es/
Train info: http://www.renfe.com/EN/viajeros/mediadistancia/mapas_y_trayectos/Madrid.html
Robin Graham writes about Andalusia, Spain and some other stuff. His stories can be found, with accompanying photography, at alotofwind
He’s a private person but, strangely, doesn’t mind being followed: @robinjgraham or liked: alotofwind
Photography at 500px.