King of the castle, Segovia, Spain

In En-Route, Europe, Our Journeys, Spain, Trip-Types, Unesco, World Travel by JanisLeave a Comment

A fairytale Alcázar

Towards the end of the 1st century AD, this high lying craggy rock was used by the Romans to build a fortress upon. Little evidence remains of their presence at the Alcázar today, other than the foundations.

The Alcázar at night, Segovia, Spain

The Romans left behind their legacy at the other end of the city of Segovia, the awe-inspiring aqueduct, which is certainly enough for one town.

From fortress to palace

During the Muslim era of Spain, a fort was built on the site of the Roman fortress. This was believed to have been a wooden structure which was subsequently replaced by a stone fortification.
King Alfonso VIII (1155 to 1214) and his wife Eleanor of England, made the fortress their principal residence. They proceeded with the early stages of the fortification that can be enjoyed nowadays.

The soft pink hues of the Alcázar, Segovia, Spain

The imposing Alcázar became a firm favourite with the crown of Castile all through the Middle Ages. It was to be the Trastamara Dynasty that had the greatest influence of the enchanted castle of today.
During the reign of King Alfonso X further parts of the Alcázar had to be rebuilt. He also instructed for the Hall of Kings to be built to house Parliament.

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John has a tower

However, King John II was one of the principal contributors to the Alcázar and has the main tower named after him (Tower of Juan II)

The Juan II tower of the Alcázar, Segovia, Spain

In 1474 Princess Isabella left the ramparts of the Alcázar on 13th December, for the church of San Miguel in Segovia’s Plaza Mayor, and was to return the same day as the crowned Queen of Castile.
It was to be King Philip II who had the slate spires erected to give the influence of a central European castle.

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To the castle

The exterior of the castle appears to have a pink hue about it, which gives it that fairytale feel.

Just as you enter the Alcázar you cross a small bridge that spans from Plaza la Reina Victoria Eugenia, it is quite a drop if you care to look down.

The drop around the Alcázar, Segovia, Spain

Once inside you are able to wander through several of the halls and it is noticeable the different influences, from the era that they were built in.

A helpful guide

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Step back in time

In the ‘Old Palace Room’ the influence is Mudéjar, which is a medieval Iberian style of decoration. The windows are of Romanesque style and used to let light into the original palace prior to the Galley Room being attached. This dates back to Alfonso X

Suits of armour in the 'The Old Palace Room', Segovia, Spain
Knights on horseback in the Alcázar, Segovia, Spain

The next room, ‘Sala de la Chimenea’, was part of the restructuring by King Philip II.

The 'Sala de la Chimenea' inside the Alcázar, Segovia, Spain

The ‘Throne Room’, built during the Trastamara Dynasty, is home to the thrones of Alfonso XIII and Queen Victoria Eugenia.

The thrones, Alcázar, Segovia, Spain
The ceiling in Throne Room, Alcázar, Segovia, Spain

The amazing ceiling in the ‘Galley Room’ is stunning. It resembles the hull of an upside ship (hence the name). Queen Catherine of Lancaster had this room built in 1412.

The Galley Room, Alcázar, Segovia, Spain
A mural at the end of the Galley Room, Alcázar, Segovia, Spain
A stained glass window in the Galley Room, Alcázar, Segovia, Sp
The view from the Galley Room, Alcázar, Segovia, Spain

Pine Cones

Well who would have thought a ‘Pine Cone Room’, which was named after the 392 pine cone carvings in the moulded ceiling. This room was built by the order of Juan II.

The ceiling of the Pine Cone Room, Alcázar, Segovia, Spain
A tapestry & stained glass window in the Pine Cone Room, Alcáz

Shut your eyes, we are now entering the ‘Royal Bedroom’

The royal bed, Alcázar, Segovia, Spain
The ceiling of the royal bedroom, Alcázar, Segovia, Spain

The ‘Monarchs Room’ (Hall of Kings) is truly impressive, the ceiling is the standout feature along with a frieze depicting the monarchs of Asturias, Castile and Leon.

The Hall of Kings or Monarchs Room, Alcázar, Segovia, Spain
The Monarchs Room, Alcázar, Segovia, Spain
The ceiling of the Monarchs Room, Alcázar, Segovia, Spain

Next is the ‘Cord Room’ so named because of the Franciscan cord that is used to decorate the walls.

A view of the Cord Room, Alcázar, Segovia, Spain
The Cord Room , Alcázar, Segovia, Spain

Going to the chapel

The small ‘Chapel’ within the Alcázar witnessed the wedding of Philip II and Anna of Austria. The painting “The Epiphany” by Bartolome Carducho (1600) is also housed in this chapel.

The chapel of the Alcázar, Segovia, Spain
“The Epiphany” by Bartolome Carducho, Alcázar, Segovia, Spain
The ceiling of the chapel, Alcázar, Segovia, Spain

The ‘Armoury’ located under the Keep has a small collection of weapons dating from various times.

The Armoury, Alcázar, Segovia, Spain
Cannons in the the armoury, Alcázar, Segovia, Spain

Up to the tower

We went for the full ticket option, so up the Juan II tower we would climb. Maneuvering around the spiral staircase, for 152 steps.

The view northwest from Juan II's tower, Alcázar, Segovia, Spain

But it was worth it, the view from the top of the tower was fantastic, you could see for miles across the plains in one direction, and across the city.

The view of the city from the Alcázar, Segovia, Spain

In front of the Alcázar is a lovely little garden in Plaza la Reina Victoria Eugenia.

This is a very pleasant place to sit and admire the views across the magnificent Spanish landscape.

A lamp in the Plaza la Reina Victoria Eugenia, Alcázar, Segovia
The monument in the Plaza la Reina Victoria Eugenia, Alcázar, Spain

Catching it from below

When heading out of town you can get some amazing views of the Alcázar, you can see that its shape is reminiscent of that of a bow of a ship.

The view of the Alcázar from the Templar church, Segovia, Spain

The Alcázar of Segovia is really worth a visit; it may be fairly small but it is fairly accessible. Unless you want to climb the tower.

Equally you don’t have to climb it you can buy separate tickets, all of which are quite reasonable.
€8 Full ticket – Palace, Artillery museum and Juan II Tower
€5.50 – Palace & Artillery museum
€2.50 – Juan II Tower

Imposing, Alcázar, Segovia, Spain

This is just one of the many reasons why Segovia Old Town has been inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1985.

The Templar Church, Alcázar, Segovia, Spain

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