Posted by: travelrat | January 11, 2013

Segovia

Aqueduct 1

Segovia: 17th October 2012

We managed to take a little time from the programme to visit Segovia. We couldn’t spend very long there; just under a couple of hours. But, even that’s longer than a lot of the ‘follow the flag’ tour groups seemed to take … they just seemed to be getting a ten-minute lecture, five minutes to take photos, then back on the bus.

It’s only a ten-minute taxi ride from Torrecaballeros, and we got dropped off in the Plaza Mayor, a vast, imposing square with a bandstand in the middle, dominated by the Ayuntamiento, or City Hall. Unfortunately, at the time, a large crane was on the roof, carrying out repairs, which called for some rather fancy footwork to get a photograph excluding it.

We walked past a castle, the Alcazar, and down some steps to the city’s most prominent and famous landmark, the Aqueducto. This was built by the Romans, to carry water into the city, and, considering its age, is still in surprisingly good condition, although I’m not sure it’s used to carry water any more … the sources I consulted seemed to contradict each other on this.

It dates from the middle of the 1st Century AD, when a canal was dug, to bring water from the Rio Frio, 18 kilometres (12 miles) away. The valley of the Rio Clamores would be spanned by this massive aqueduct 800 metres (about 2500 feet) long and, at its highest point, nearly 30 metres (100 feet) high.

It was built from 25,000 stone blocks and, notwithstanding its size, no mortar at all was used in its construction.

It took over fifty years to build, but a much later folk-tale told that it had been built overnight, by the Devil himself … hence its alternative name of Puente de Diablo, or ‘Devil’s Bridge’. It’s said that the Evil One was after the soul of a local woman, to achieve which, he had to complete the bridge in a single night … in which task, he failed, because he was unable to find the last block before the sun rose.

It’s such a gigantic size that it can be seen all over the city; indeed, it was almost the first thing we saw on the way in. The best view is from the steps we came down, and at the foot of the aqueduct is a taxi rank, from which we took a cab back to Torrecaballeros, where the evening schedule awaited.

Aqueduct 2

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Responses

  1. Hi Keith,
    What a magnificent structure, and it does look huge, it is just amazing how they used to build these things, and all these years later still standing, the builders of old put modern buildings to shame I feel.
    Looks like a beautiful place, it is good that you at least had a couple of hours to spend there.


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