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Route through Segovia


Introduction  


Before the Sierra de Guadarrama mountains rises Segovia, city of Castilla-Leon, declared Patrimony of Humanity.

From far off you can distinguish its towers, the points that dominate the city and that make it a beautiful panorama, although this beauty is also observable upon entering its streets and plazas.

Segovia was a Roman city. It welcomed a large Jewish population, and in it Gothic and Romanic styles were developed. The city was also a royal residence to Isabel the Catholic, who was crowned as Queen of Castilla in one of its churches, and lived a maximum splendor due to its livestock.


 
Route  

Starting the route at the plaza del Azoguejo, which was the main plaza and one-time Moroccan market, we encounter the first large structure, probably the most emblematic of the city: the Aqueduct, which brought water from Acebeda (17km away) and crossed the city to arrive to the Alcazar (fortress).

From here, the Calle Mayor extends and runs to the Plaza Mayor. It is divided in sections: Cervantes, Juan Bravo, Plazuela del Corpus and Isabel la Catolica. Together they form an interesting architectural ensemble from the 15th and 16th centuries.

On Mayor street we find: the Mirador de la Canaleja (scenic overlook), from which you can contemplate the mountain of La Mujer Muerta (Dead Woman), the famous peaked house once owned by Juan de la Hoz, the Palacio de Torreagero, which has an interesting patio with Renaissance columns in the city's typical patio structure. The late 15th C. Palacio del Conde Alpuente rises in the Plaza del Platero Oquendo. The palace shows off some beautiful flamboyant Gothic windows. Also, the Alhondiga was an old grain store and today is the Municipal Archive and exhibition hall.

The Plaza de Medina del Campo is found presided by the Romano-Castilian Iglesia de San Martin, and it is in this plaza where the Segovian bars and restaurants open their terraces in good weather. The plaza is culminated by the statue of Juan Bravo and the Sirens, Neoclassical sphinxes with the body of a woman and the head of a lion.

Nearby, in the Plazuela de las Bellas Artes (Plaza of Fine Arts), you find the Esteban Vicente Museum of Contemporary Art, located in the old Palacio de Enrique IV.

Once again on Calle Real, we encounter the Carcel Real (Royal Jailhouse) or Carcel Vieja (Old Jailhouse), which today is used as a Public Library. Lope de Vega was once locked up in its cells in 1577.

The Plaza Mayor is the heart of Segovia. It is dominated by the Ayuntamiento/City Hall, a 1610 granite building. The Iglesia de San Miguel is also in this plaza and here is where Isabel la Catolica was proclaimed Queen of Castilla. Houses from the 20s and 30s surround the plaza, between which you can see the pinnacles of the Cathedral. This late Gothic style cathedral was built starting from 1525 with the help of volunteers of Segovia after the destruction of the old cathedral in 1510 during the War of the Communities. Built in limestone, its façade is dotted with doors and windows, and adorned with the buttresses and pinnacles that define its style. This inside is grandiose and proportioned and is highlighted by its glass windows and the main altarpiece, dedicated to Nuestra Señora de la Paz (Our Lady of Peace). The choir stalls are from the Old Cathedral. Around the chapel and in the central lateral naves, you can visit 18 chapels that hold important paintings and sculptures. From the Cathedral, you can access the Diocesan Museum, which has gold and silver artisan pieces, paintings and sculpture.

The Palacio del Marques del Arco is just in front of the Cathedral. In its interior you can find a stunning Renaissance patio.

In the last section before arriving to the Alcazar, you will find the Barrio de Las Caninjias (Neighborhood of Canonry).

The Alcazar rises up, like the castle in a fairy tale, over the rivers of Eresma and Clamores. It is preceded by some lovely gardens which offer a splendid view of the Jewish cementary and the Iglesia de la Vera Cruz y Zarramala.

In the silhouette of the Castle-Fortress that is the Alcazar, what stands out is the tower of Alfonso X el Sabio, from which the monarch divided the stars, and that of Juan II, with beautiful illustrations. On the inside, the bedrooms surround the patio of Arms and the Clock Patio. Note the artisanry of the Salon de los Reyes, in golden hexagons and rhomboids.

The barrio de los Caballeros (Neighborhood of Knights), between the plazas of San Esteban and Colmenares is dominated by the parish churches: Trinidad, San Nicolas, San Martin, San Juan and San Sebastian, which live together with Renaissance, Gothic and Baroque palaces: Valdeaguila, de los Campo, de los Mansilla, de Avedaño….

The old Segovian Sephardi neighborhood was enclosed by seven brick arches, those inside lived in rubble masonry and brick houses, with timber framework and an interior corral. This neighborhood had six synagogues: Mayor, Vieja, de Burgos, del Campo, de los Ibanez de Segovia, which proved the importance of the Jewish population in Segovia.

In the province of Segovia there are also many villages to visit, those that may be of most interest are: Pedraza and Sepulveda as examples of Romanic Segovia, Riaza and Sotosalbos as mountain towns, Coca and Santa Maria de Mieva as examples of Mudejar, and El Espinar and Villacastin with Gothic architecture.

 
   
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