The magnificent Alcazar of Segovia!

This is another of my favorite cities of my beloved Spain, or is one of many I think. From an early age , I think first time was when I was 10 years old with my mother; I keep coming back over the years, then with my wife, and then with the family and boys and parents and and ….lost count but each time is like the first time. The Alcazar of Segovia is awesome, a must to see.

Well I admit only once did took the bus as always came here taken or on my own by car from Madrid. The roads are good if hilly and curvy even if now they have expressways such as the AP 6 and AP 61 but my all time favorite is the N603; from Madrid you can come on the A1.  I drive around to find a parking either at 14 Paseo Ezequiel Gonzalez next to the tribunal , you walk past the statue to famous restaurantor Candido and onwards to the Cathedral and Aqueduct nice walk and car is very safe or  the Alcazar or by the Aqueduct and then walk all over the city. By intercity bus you come from the bus depot at Moncloa and the Sepulvena line ,there are suburbian trains such as cercanias by changing trains in Cercedilla. The fast trains or AVE can be taken at the station Segovia-Guiomar and for cheaper slower trains you can do the Avant trains.

I have written quite a bit on Segovia and all its attractions before, but this one is the Alcazar needs a stand alone post. To me , the Alcazar is tops for the history of it, then the Cathedral and then the Aqueduct.

The history of the Alcazar is very interesting and I like it.

The oldest remains were stones of granite like those in the Roman aqueduct so it is assume that in the Roman period there was a castrum or castle here already. On top of these ruins this Alcazar was built  as a hispano Arabic fortress. The first notice of it was in 1122 a bit after king Alfonso VI of Léon conquered the city ,however, it wasn’t until 1155 that it is shown in text as the Alcazar on a letter kept at the archives of the Cathedral​  ; the Alcazar was the residency of king Alfonso VIII

In the middle ages, for its security and proximity to the hunting areas the Alcazar became one of the favorite residencies of the kings of Castilla , especially Alfonso X.  The fortress was inhabited many times and was one of the most luxurious palace-castle of the 15C; it was witness to several major events such as the proclamation of queen Isabel la Catolica in 1474 and the awake Mass of king Felipe II and Anne of Austria in 1570 in the Chapel. The fortress served as a prison until 1762,and king Carlos III founded the Royal College of Artillery here (more later).  In  1862, fire destroyed the ceilings and roof, nobles rooms and they were rebuilt thanks to engravings done in 1839.

The layout of the fortress is around two areas, exterior with a patio,and well, bridge and tower keeps, and the interior rooms such as Chapel, several noble rooms. The tower keeps or Torre de Homenaje is square with four towerettes with a canon and terrace windows, been done by king John II and once a war room, you can see a nice view of the city and especially the neighborhood of Canonjias, Jewish quarters and Cathedral.  There are two stairs you need to pass to arrive to the top or about 156 steps most in a carrousel stair very narrow and inclined. Once crossing the gate you have access to the first stair where you can see the thickness of the wall, and at the end is the guards room and there is the spot where the night watchman slept. On top there are four levels and mostly used as a prison, the last prisioner here was General Berenguer in the 1930’s.

Segovia

entrance to the alcazar

Segovia

orangerie on the right of Alcazar

Segovia

courtyard interior

Segovia

patio of arms back towers

Segovia

right side moats alcazar

Segovia

towers outside

The interior has nice decorated rooms of great luxury and it houses the army museum or Museo de Armas as well as the military archives of Segovia, and historical archives oldest of the Spanish armed forces. Let me tell you about the utmost beauty of the interior rooms of the Alcazar, awesome.

The Sala del Palacio Viejo (difficult to translate all of this but it is close to the old palace room) it was built during the reign of king Alfonso VIII and the decoration shows arms of a Germanic style from the 15C.  The Sala de la Chimenea (chimney room) dates from the times of king Felipe II and the furniture is from the 16C, on the walls you see a portrait of Felipe II and another one of Felipe III,a Flemish tapestry of the 16C with the Our Lady and an Alcazar before the reform of the roof where we can see the former Cathedral of St Mary  that was in the square in front of the current Alcazar. The  Sala del Trono (throne room) the façade the communicates with the chimney room and still intact its mudejar Arabic original construction with a covered of armor done by 1456. The throne under the mold of the tapetries has a blason or flag of the Catholic Kings and a saying tanto monta or sort of so much rides from early the 15C.  On the walls you see portraits of the same Catholic Kings that were ordered by queen Isabel II. The window stained glass represent king Enrique IV of Castilla.

We continue in the interior with the  Sala de la Galera ( galleon room) it takes this name because the place shows the casque of a boat inverted ; the room was built by queen Catalina de Lancaster in 1412 when her son was still a minor future Juan II of Castilla.  On the windows you see stained glass representing king Enrique III of Castilla and his family and another of Enrique II with scenes from the death of Pedro I and Juan II.  On one of the walls is decorated with a painting representing the coronation of queen Isabel la Catolica as queen of Castilla and Leon in the Church of San Miguel  of Segovia. The  Sala de las Piñas  (pineapple room) on the ceiling you can see angels carrying the shield of arms of Castilla and Leon, the stained glass shows king Alfonso VII with his daughter Berenguela. The  Cámara Regia  (or great room) on the wall you can see scenes from the life of the Catholic Kings. The bed is covered with knitting and embroidery in gold. The Sala de los Reyes (kings room) king Felipe II  ordered it built statues corresponding to the kings of Asturias, Leon and Castilla.  One of the paintings in the room is a portrait of king Felipe II  and the other two portraits are of his two wives Isabel of Valois  and  Anne of  Austria.  The Sala del Cordón (cord room) has this name because the surrounding of the walls there is a cord long and golden. You arrive at the Chapel, there is a small Chapel in the sala de cordón  from where the king or queen listen to the Mass.  The arms room or Sala de Armas is here because the Alcazar house the arms of the old House of Trastàmara (the branch of Segovia of Queen Isabel the Catholic of Castille and Leon) and was the precedent from which the arms now were united in the Royal Armory of Madrid .

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Museo del Real Colegio de Artillería or the wonderful Royal College of Artillery museum houses many wonderful military objects as here was the Artillery Academy of Segovia founded in 1764 in the Alcazar in the times of king Carlos III. It is said to be the oldest military academy in the world in active duty ,this the  Real Colegio de Artillería de Segovia, in the Alcazar. Here was echo the call for independence from the invading armies of Napoléon I in May 2 1808 (Spain national independence day) that was led by the Artillery captains Luis Daoiz and Pedro Velarde (statues of them in front of the Alcazar now) that were former students of the academy. The current home of the artillery academy is on the former convent of San Francisco in Segovia (Calle San Francisco, 25) and many rooms and residences are in the business park ,poligono de Baterias in Segovia (Carretera de San Rafael S/N). More info here in Spanish: http://www.realcolegiodeartilleria.es/

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Some further webpages to help plan your visit here

The official Alcazar webpage: http://www.alcazardesegovia.com/

The region of Castilla y Leon on the Alcazar: http://servicios.jcyl.es/pweb/datos.do?numero=11675&tipo=inmueble&ruta=

Tourism of Segovia webpage: http://visitsegovia.turismodesegovia.com/es/monuments/alcazar

Hope you come here and share your pictures, this is a wonderful town, small enough to walk all over. and huge in Spanish history with marvelous architecture, love it. This is the Alcazar of Segovia!

Ah sorry for my memories, a photo of me in the Alcazar taken in 1990 from my late dear wife we were on our courtship trip in Sept 1990 married in Dec 1990 !!!!

Segovia

main arms room in Alcazar photo of 1990 taken by my late dear wife

And remember, happy travels, good health ,and many cheers to all!!

 

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2 Comments to “The magnificent Alcazar of Segovia!”

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