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Alcázar of Segovia.- *** The Alcázar of Segovia stands proudly at the junction of the Rivers Eresma and Clamores, surrounded by thick vegetation. A fusion of palace and military fortress, it sits over an elevated promontory that possibly housed other structures since the Prehistoric times of the Celtic culture. Its profile of strength and majesty are cut over the Sierra of Guadarrama. It has multiple underground levels and secret passages that even reach the rivers and connected with other palaces of the city, and that even today continue to yield new discoveries. Not long ago, thanks to a document found in the Vatican’s Library, they led to the discovery of the foundations of an ancient Roman strong hold of the city, made up with the same type of stone used in the Aqueduct.

Eventhough it may have been inhabited by Visigoths and Muslims, our first written reference is Christian. Its existence permeates with history:

Since Alfons VI, the Brave (1030 - 1109), Segovia is repopulated; he is then followed by his sister Doña Urraca, Alfons VII, Sancho III, and Alfons VIII, who in the 13th century refurbishes it as a living residence. It would be here where his daughter would then be born, Doña Berenguela, who became one of most controversial queens. Also at the Alcazar, Alfons X, the Wise; Catherine of Lancaster; John II will leave their mark. Architects under John II and Henry IV will give it a gothic aspect in the 13th century by which it is known today. It would be here where Isabel of Castille, known as the Catholic Queen was crowned, who later would finance Columbus’ voyage. By 1570, Philip II marries here with his fourth wife, Anne of Austria.

Tower of Segovia’s Alcazar

The last phase of the Alcázar is completed in 1587, in which the architect Francisco of Morar possibly collaborated with Juan Herrera in the realization of the Main Patio and the School of Honor. In 1764, Charles II establishes here the legendary Royal School of Artillery.

In its interior, the notable areas are the Hall of the Ajimeces, which houses many masterpieces; the Hall of the Throne, the Hall of the Galera, the Hall of the Piñas, and the Hall of the Kings, with a frieze representing the Spanish Kings and Queens since Don Pelayo (1st cent.) down through Doña Juan the Crazy (16th Cent.); the Museum of Arms, the Tower of the Homage, and many other sites which either their beauty or their history will enchant the visitor.

It has suffered several fires, and a period of abandonment, but toady such damages have been reverted thanks to the tenacity and dedication of individuals that have permitted that the living history of this monument reaches us fully.