The ancient Roman aqueduct in Segovia is not a religious site, but it is such a magnificent monument that we just can't bear to leave it out of our guide. The most visited and photographed sight in Segovia and the symbol of the city, its massive scale and state of preservation are unmatched anywhere in Europe.
Architecture of Spain author Alejandro Lapunzina calls Segovia's aqueduct "the most impressive Roman structure in Spain" because of its "long span, architectural beauty, and dramatic presence in the center of a dense urban fabric."
Begun in the 1st century AD under Emperor Domitian and probably completed under Trajan in the early 2nd century, the aqueduct brought water to Segovia from the Frío River 10 miles (16 km) away.
Some of the arches in the center of the aqueduct were destroyed during the Muslim conquest of the 9th century, but they were restored in the 15th century by order of the Catholic kings.
Sadly, after surviving remarkably intact for almost 2,000 years, the aqueduct is now being seriously threatened by the pollution and traffic vibrations of the modern world.
What to See
Segovia's aqueduct stretches from the southeast end of the city across the Plaza del Azoguejo to the southeastern walls of the old city. Its scale and stones are best admired from the Plaza, but then be sure to climb the stairs to the city walls for a view over the top and along its length into the distance.
At its highest point, the water channel is 100 feet off the ground. The visible part of the great structure consists of 800 meters of granite blocks, 166 arches, 120 pillars. And not a bit of mortar or cement was used to hold it all together. Instead, the stones were precisely cut to transmit and bear the load in a perfect equilibrium.
Quick Facts on the Segovia Aqueduct
|Names:||Acueducto de Segovia; Segovia Aqueduct|
|State:||Castile and Leon|
|Dates:||late 1st C|
|Visitor and Contact Information|
|Coordinates:||40.947927° N, 4.117794° W (view on Google Maps)|
|Lodging:||View hotels near this location|
Map of the Segovia Aqueduct
Below is a location map and aerial view of the Segovia Aqueduct. Using the buttons on the left (or the wheel on your mouse), you can zoom in for a closer look, or zoom out to get your bearings. To move around, click and drag the map with your mouse.
- Personal visit (April 1, 2007).
- Alejandro Lapunzina, Architecture of Spain (Greenwood Publishing Group, 2005), 201-06.
- Rough Guide Spain 11 (2004), 186.
|Link code:||<a href="http://www.sacred-destinations.com/sites/segovia-aqueduct/virtual">Segovia Aqueduct</a>|