Alcázar of Segovia in Castile and León

Friday, January 12th, 2018 - 11:00 am (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General, UNESCO World Heritage

© Javicoves/cc-by-sa-3.0

© Javicoves/cc-by-sa-3.0

The Alcázar of Segovia (literally, “Segovia Fortress”) is a castle, located in Segovia in Castile and León, a World Heritage Site. Rising out on a rocky crag above the confluence of two rivers near the Guadarrama mountains, it 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 of Segovia, 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 (during the time when King Alfonso VI reconquered lands to the south of the Duero river down to Toledo and beyond). The shape and form of the Alcázar was not known until the reign of King Alfonso VIII (1155–1214), however early documentation mentioned a wooden stockade fence. 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.

Tower of John II of Castile © Selbymay/cc-by-sa-3.0 Throne Room © Carlos Delgado/cc-by-sa-3.0 © Miguel303xm/cc-by-sa-2.5 © Javicoves/cc-by-sa-3.0 Chapel © Gryffindor/cc-by-sa-3.0 Armory © Gryffindor/cc-by-sa-3.0
<
>
Tower of John II of Castile © Selbymay/cc-by-sa-3.0
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). In 1474, the Alcázar played a major role in the rise of Queen Isabella I. On 12 December news of the King Henry IV‘s death in Madrid reached Segovia and Isabella immediately took refuge within the walls of the Alcázar where she received the support of Andres Cabrera and Segovia’s council. She was enthroned the next day as Queen of Castile and León. 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. The royal court eventually moved to Madrid and the Alcázar then served as a state prison for almost two centuries before King Charles III founded the Royal Artillery School in 1762. It served this function for almost a hundred years until March 6, 1862 where a fire badly damaged the roofs of the treasury, keep, armory, sleeping quarters, and framework. It was only in 1882 that the building was slowly restored to its original state. In 1896, King Alfonso XIII ordered the Alcázar to be handed over to the Ministry of War as a military college. According to The Illustrated Magazine of Art (1853):

The interior of the Castle of Segovia is in perfect accordance with the magnificence of its exterior. Many apartments are decorated with delicate traceries and pendant ornaments, in the style of the Alhambra, and, like those of the Alcazar of Seville, were executed by Arabian workmen during the Christian dominion of the fourteenth century, for in many places the crowns of the kings of Castille may be seen, surrounded by Latin mottoes [sic] and extracts from the Koran.

The original interior was badly damaged by fire in 1862, though it has since been partially restored. Today, the Alcázar remains one of the most popular historical sites in Spain and is one of the three major attractions in Segovia. Notable rooms are the Hall of Ajimeces which houses many works of art, the Hall of the Throne and the Hall of Kings with a frieze representing all of the Spanish Kings and Queens starting from Pelagius of Asturias down to Juana la Loca after moving to El Palacio Real in Madrid.

Read more on unesco.org – Old Town of Segovia and its Aqueduct and Wikipedia Alcázar of Segovia (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State). Photos by Wikimedia Commons. If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.



Recommended posts:

Theme Week Scotland - Paisley

Theme Week Scotland - Paisley

[caption id="attachment_152539" align="aligncenter" width="590"] The Paisley Cenotaph and war memorial © geograph.org.uk - Stephen Sweeney/cc-by-sa-2.0[/caption][responsivevoice_button voice="UK English Female" buttontext="Listen to this Post"]Paisley (Scottish Gaelic: Pàislig) is the largest town in the historic county of Renfrewshire in the west central Lowlands of Scotland and serves as the administrative centre for the Renfrewshire council area. The town is situated on the northern edge of the Gleniffer Braes, straddling the banks of the White Cart Water, a tributary of the River Clyde. ...

Belgrade, the capital of Serbia

Belgrade, the capital of Serbia

[caption id="attachment_153498" align="aligncenter" width="590"] Railway Museum © Uncle buddha[/caption][responsivevoice_button voice="UK English Female" buttontext="Listen to this Post"]Belgrade is the capital of Serbia. As the largest city of Serbia, it is the country's principal political, cultural, commercial, industrial, and transportation centre. It has an urban population of 1.2 million, while the metropolitan area has more than 1.7 million people, making it one of the largest cities of Southeast Europe. The city lies at the confluence of the Sava and Danube rivers, where the Pannonian...

The Hotel Negresco in Nice

The Hotel Negresco in Nice

[caption id="attachment_161223" align="aligncenter" width="590"] © Jolly Janner[/caption][responsivevoice_button voice="UK English Female" buttontext="Listen to this Post"]The Hotel Negresco on the Promenade des Anglais on the Baie des Anges in Nice was named for Henri Negresco (1868–1920) who had the palatial hotel constructed in 1912. In keeping with the conventions of the times, when the Negresco first opened in 1913 its front opened facing the Mediterranean sea. Henri Negresco, born the son of an innkeeper in Bucharest, Romania, left home at the age of 15 going first to Paris th...

Theme Week Chile - Punta Arenas

Theme Week Chile - Punta Arenas

[caption id="attachment_164087" align="aligncenter" width="590"] Nao Victoria, Magellans ship replica, in the Museo Nao Victoria © Juanmatassi/cc-by-sa-3.0[/caption][responsivevoice_button voice="UK English Female" buttontext="Listen to this Post"]Punta Arenas is the capital city of the southernmost region, Magallanes and Antartica Chilena. The city was officially renamed as Magallanes in 1927, but in 1938 it was changed back to Punta Arenas. It is the largest city south of the 46th parallel south. As of 1977 Punta Arenas has been one of only two free ports in Chile. Located on the Brunswick ...

Brescello in Reggio Emilia

Brescello in Reggio Emilia

[caption id="attachment_161130" align="aligncenter" width="590"] Museum of Don Camillo and Peppone © Szeder László/cc-by-sa-3.0[/caption][responsivevoice_button voice="UK English Female" buttontext="Listen to this Post"]Brescello is a comune (municipality) in the Province of Reggio Emilia in the Italian region Emilia-Romagna, located about 80 km northwest of Bologna and about 25 km northwest of Reggio Emilia. It has 5,504 inhabitants. Situated in the north-western side of the province, close to the borders with the provinces of Parma and Mantua (Mantua is in Lombardy), Brescello lies on the...

Theme Week Scotland - Livingston

Theme Week Scotland - Livingston

[caption id="attachment_152532" align="aligncenter" width="590"] The north-west of Livingston © Kim Traynor/cc-by-sa-3.0[/caption][responsivevoice_button voice="UK English Female" buttontext="Listen to this Post"]Livingston (Scottish Gaelic: Baile Dhùn Lèibhe) is the largest town in West Lothian. It is the fourth post-War new town to be built in Scotland, designated in 1962. It is about 15 miles (25 km) west of Edinburgh and 30 miles (50 km) east of Glasgow, and is bordered by the towns of Broxburn to the northeast and Bathgate to the northwest. Livingston is the second biggest sett...

Return to Top ▲Return to Top ▲
Campo de Gheto Novo © Didier Descouens/cc-by-sa-4.0
The Gheto di Venezia in Venice

The Venetian Ghetto was the area of Venice in which Jews were compelled to live by the government of the...

© Daniel Schwen/cc-by-sa-4.0
Brighton Beach in New York City

Brighton Beach is an oceanside neighborhood in the southern portion of the New York City borough of Brooklyn, along the...

© Oncenawhile
Arab–Israeli and Israeli-Palestinian conflict

The Arab–Israeli conflict is the political tension, military conflicts and disputes between a number of Arab countries and Israel. The...

Schließen