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

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4.7/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

LordPuppy RD (2 months ago)
Quite a beautiful castle. The walk is furthest from town so I would suggest visiting it first thing. We prebought tickets but it wasn't necessary during low season. The castle has nice details and rooms to look. The countryside view is wonderful and the towers and areas to explore are lovely.
Veyron Tan (2 months ago)
A nice twelve century building. You can choose to walk up the hill or take a tourist bus. The way up the hill is amazing, the views are incredible and is worth it. You can take a lot of photos outside the castle and you can stroll along the small park. Many souvenir shops nearby, but many of them are expensive. I recommend the one just right outside the castle, it is cheaper and has more souvenirs like magnets, postcards, clothes and more.
Rebecca Yu (3 months ago)
Enjoyed the experience with my family of preteen to teens. The rooms were interesting and the views pretty. There are rooms with weapons and armor. Boys found that cool. Climbed to the top. Narrow stairs but nice view from top.
Nathalie Joya (3 months ago)
Beautiful place! Best to get the audio guide as it will explain the history about the place without being boring. Best views from the tower (you need to book it with the ticket purchase ) but bare in mind the way up might be challenging as it’s steep and staircase is spiral ?
Gorawich Kerkarchachai (7 months ago)
Amazing place with wonderful panoramic view of the city. Worth to go and recommend to buy a ticket in advance via official website. There are 3 parts inside this palace. The tower part is included in ticket choice but more expensive. The view from the tower is great. So worth to go. ???
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