Segovia’s Crown Jewels: Discovering the Aqueduct, Alcazar, and Cathedral of Santa Maria

Segovia, located in central Spain, an hour’s drive from Madrid, has a long and rich history, dating back to Roman times and beyond. As one of the earliest settlements in Spain, Segovia has played an important role in shaping the country’s culture and identity. Throughout the centuries, Segovia has been home to various cultures and civilizations, each leaving its mark on the city’s architecture, art, and traditions. As a result, Segovia is considered by many to be the birthplace of Spanish culture, and a visit to the city is a journey through the country’s fascinating history. The city is therefore well known for its historical landmarks, gorgeous architecture, and extensive cultural history. Three of Segovia’s most well-known touristic treasures will be covered in this article: the aqueduct, the Alcazar, and the Santa Maria Cathedral.

The Aqueduct of Segovia is an ancient Roman structure that dates back to the 1st century AD. This impressive monument spans over 800 meters and is made up of 166 arches. The aqueduct is one of the best-preserved examples of Roman engineering in the world and has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Walking in the city, you will be able to admire the aqueduct up close, and even walk along the top of it, offering stunning views of the city below.

The Alcazar of Segovia is a fortified palace that was built in the 12th century. It has served as a royal palace, a state prison, and a military academy over the years. The Alcazar is a stunning example of Gothic architecture and is said to have inspired Walt Disney’s Cinderella Castle. The palace is open to visitors so you will be able to discover many wonders inside, such as the Sala del Trono, which is decorated with intricate carvings and frescoes. For the bravest, it is possible to climb up the famous Torre de Juan II, one of the most recognizable features of the Alcazar of Segovia, and enjoy panoramic vistas of Segovia’s historic centre, including the cathedral and the famous aqueduct.

The Segovia Cathedral, also known as the Cathedral of Santa Maria, is a stunning example of Gothic architecture and is considered to be one of the last cathedrals of this style built in Spain. It took over two centuries to complete its construction, beginning in the 16th century and ending in the 18th century. You can admire the intricate vaulted ceilings, impressive stained-glass windows, and ornate altarpieces. If you’re feeling adventurous, climb the cathedral’s tower for a panoramic view of the city, offering breathtaking views of Segovia’s medieval streets and historic landmarks. The cathedral is a must-see for anyone interested in Gothic architecture and Spanish history.

Aside from these three attractions, Segovia is also famous for its traditional cuisine, which includes dishes such as Judiones de La Granja (a type of white bean stew) and the world-renowned Cochinillo (roast suckling pig). One of the most famous restaurants to try Cochinillo is Candido, a family-owned restaurant next to the Aqueduct, that has been serving the dish since 1905. Candido’s Cochinillo is cooked in a wood-fired oven, resulting in tender meat and crispy skin.

Traditionally, Cochinillo is sliced with a china plate, rather than a knife, in front of the diners. This is a testament to the tenderness of the meat, as a regular knife is not needed to slice through it. The tradition of serving Cochinillo in this way dates back to the 19th century and is still upheld at Candido and other traditional Segovian restaurants. 

In conclusion, Segovia is a must-visit destination, perfect for a weekend getaway. With its impressive aqueduct, stunning Alcazar, and beautiful cathedral, the city is a testament to Spain’s rich cultural heritage. You can explore the city’s many historical sites, indulge in traditional cuisine, and immerse yourself in the Castillan roots of Spanish culture.

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