Though a lover of all things rural i have visited hundreds of cities and towns around Europe, and a few outside of Europe, but there is none that i love to return Segovia.

Segovia and its aquaduct..with Peñalara on the horizon

Segovia and its amazing Roman aquaduct..with Peñalara on the horizon

Segovia has so many things going for it..its ancient stones, its closeness to the mountains, its lively town center, its many late medieval monuments and its fine cathedral that stands out above the rooves from kilometers away..but perhaps the thing that i like most about the city is its dimensions. While undoubtedly a refined and elegant urban center, you can walk around it in an hour or so and in Segovia you are never far from the country. Indeed from many viewpoints higher up in the old town you can see wheatfields, green in Spring and gold in Summer-Autumn that give the mirage-like impression that if you reached out with your hand you could almost touch them. And you can certainly walk down from the old town in a few minutes to the treed areas along the rivers that conform and confine the urban settlement. It is perhaps this topographic conformation that gives Segovia its exceptional physical character. The promontory of rock on which the ancient city is perched narrows to a prow above the point where the Eresma and Clamores rivers meet, and upon this prow there rises a majestic structure..

El Alcázar de Segovia

El Alcázar de Segovia, perched high above the River Eresma

In English there is an old fashioned expression which speaks of “castles in Spain” in reference to imaginary or fantastic projects. Before i came to live in Spain, more than twenty years ago, such was my ignorance that i had practically no images of the country at all..though really i should say that i had one image in my head to work with, perhaps a little removed from the day to day reality of modern urban Spain, perhaps even fantastic.. it was the image of a magnificent castle perched on a great prow of rock, the Alcazar of Segovia. Little did i know it then but it was facing North, towards the Pyrenees, towards Ireland, towards me.. Years later when i first visited Segovia i was not disappointed by the reality..and even today this almost ethereal construction, embedded in this wonderful city, still represents profoundly so much that is Spain for me.


About coldspringdays

Éireannach is ea mé, i mo chonaí insan Spáinn. Rugadh mé i lár na tuaithe, ar feadh blianta bhí mé ag teitheadh uaithi, i bhfad as an tuath, ach sa deireadh d'fhill mé, ar ais go dtí an tuath.. An Irishman am I, settled in Spain. Born was I in the middle of the country, for years I ran from it, far from the country, but in the end I returned, back to the country..
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2 Responses to Segovia

  1. marcos says:

    Yes, the Segovia´s Alcazar is a very nice castle, but it´s not a good example of traditional Spanish castle. I prefer this one:

    • If you are interested in good examples of “traditional” castles you could look more locally at Coca or even the magnificent walled city of Ávila. But what makes the Alcazar of Segovia much more representative than any of these constructions is precisely that it is not a “traditional” castle..though it has a history perhaps richer than any of these other fortresses it has not remained unchanged since Medieval has been modified and modernised – just like Spain in general..

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