Walls and Alcazar of Segovia

Segovia, Spain

Rising out on a rocky crag above the confluence of two rivers near the Guadarrama mountains, the Alcázar of Segovia is one of the most distinctive castle-palaces in Spain by virtue of its shape – like the bow of a ship. The Alcázar was originally built as a fortress but has served as a royal palace, a state prison, a Royal Artillery College and a military academy since then. It is currently used as a museum and a military archives building.

The Alcázar, like many fortifications in Spain, started off as Roman fort, but apart from the foundations, little of the original structure remains. A Muslim era fort, which was itself largely replaced by the present structure, was built by the Berber Almoravid dynasty. The first reference to this particular "alcázar" was in 1120, around 32 years after the city of Segovia returned to Christian hands. It can be concluded that prior to Alfonso VIII's reign, the Muslim era structure was no more than a wooden fort built over the old Roman foundations. Alfonso VIII and his wife, Eleanor of England, made this alcázar their principal residence and much work was carried out to erect the beginnings of the stone fortification we see today.

The Alcázar of Segovia was one of the favorite residences of the monarchs of Castile in the Middle Ages, and a key fortress in the defence of the kingdom. It was during this period that most of the current building was constructed by the Trastámara dynasty.

In 1258, parts of the Alcázar had to be rebuilt by King Alfonso X after a cave-in and the Hall of Kings was built to house Parliament soon after. However, the single largest contributor to the continuing construction of the Alcázar is King John II who built the "New Tower" (John II tower as it is known today).

The next major renovation at the Alcázar was conducted by King Philip II after his marriage to Anna of Austria. He added the sharp slate spires to reflect the castles of central Europe. In 1587, architect Francisco de Morar completed the main garden and the School of Honor areas of the castle.

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Details

Founded: 12th century
Category: Castles and fortifications in Spain

Rating

4.7/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Hung Thai (18 months ago)
A picturesque Castle worthy of a visit but don't expect grandeur like some other well known castles. It's perched atop a hill with a drawbridge that's really cool. Inside you can see the various rooms that used to host Kings and queens. It's a nice historical adventure through time. It can get really crowded. And for how small it is, that could be a bit annoying.
Bruce Scott (18 months ago)
The castle that inspired the Disney Cinderella castle. So much has been written about this unique building and it's history it is difficult to add more. Wander through the structure and do avail yourself of the audio guide. This is well worth the small fee as it provides historical detail and context to what you see. Make sure to climb the tower and do not be daunted by the number of total steps. There are two areas on the way up that you can go into and catch your breath if needed. The views from the top are glorious!! Enjoy the visit. Afterwards, stroll back into the city, find a cafe and relax, reflecting on the marvel you have just seen.
German Pineda (18 months ago)
Amazing place in winter or summer! Magical place! I really recommend the visit to the castle! I mean go inside and walk around and enjoy the awesome views from the top of the building! Warning!! If you suffer of vertigo stay inside and do not go to the terrace! worth the money and the experience!
john wilkes (18 months ago)
Heavily restored castle, but still worth a visit. Great views if you can climb 150+ steps to the to of the tower. Contains a small museum about the history of Spanish artillery; unfortunately all in Spanish.
jacob sorenson (19 months ago)
What a hidden gem! This place is incredible and a must see in the beautiful town of Segovia. There are awesome viewpoints all around the castle. You can also enter the castle for 8 euros to see all the available rooms and tower. Highly recommended.
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