Alcazar of Segovia, Spain
Segovia is located north west of Madrid and is usually considered as day trip from Madrid. But we arrived here via Avila from Salamanca. The distance of 68kms from Avila to Segovia was easily covered in an hour.
I have grown up kids but they never cease to be amazed by castles and the stories revolving around them. We had been to Moorish castles and Pena Palace in Sintra during our tour of Portugal. This castle of el Alcazar de Segovia was included in the itinerary just for them. I too find a special charm around these fortified historical structures. One fact common to all castles is they are built on hill tops.
History of Alcazar of Segovia
Alcazar de Segovia is famous to be known as an inspiration for Cinderella Castle by Walt Disney, just like how he drew the inspiration for Sleeping Beauty’s castle from the Neuschwanstein Castle in Fussen, Germany. The memories of fairy tale day got rekindled, my daughters tried to place imaginary figures there!
Castle of Alcazar of Segovia was not a castle always! It did serve the purpose as royal palace once, after that it became a state prison. I don’t understand that – criminals imprisoned in the huge rooms of a castle? Anyways, later it got converted to Royal Artilery College; the corridors there filled with hustle and bustle of students – that made some sense. These days it is used as military academy. So we got to see huge rooms stuffed with some military equipment. The castle of Alcazar of Segovia got burnt down in 1832, after that it was rebuilt using old sketches as reference. Now it has been converted into a museum.
What you read in the previous para is about the list of its occupancy from 1120AD, which is the year it was made, till today. Prior to that, historical records mention that there existed an Arab Fort built by Berber dynasty, which was built on Roman ruins of a fort. Alfonso VIII and his wife, Eleanor of England, made this Alcázar their principal residence. Major work was carried out to erect the magnificent stone fortification.
Approach to Castle of Alcazar of Segovia
The route uphill can easily take 20 to 30 minutes by walk, some claim to have done it in 15 minutes. We took the easy way out and hired a taxi for 5 Euros. (We planned to come downhill walking, so why cross the path twice by walk.) The taxi transported us back to 12thcentury and we stood there mesmerized looking at the old mighty walls of the medieval castle.
Tickets purchased, we finally stepped into the castle. Inside there are 2 parts to the castle. One has the courtyard with a pit, a lifting bridge and two round turrets with spires. The second part has a chapel, Gallery room, the Pine Cone room and Queen’s chamber. The tour time of entire castle can be anywhere more than one hour depending on your pace. There are 4 floors with attics and basement; all are not open to public though.
One particular room that I had photographed a lot because of its unique ceiling is the Monarch’s room. The ceiling patterns are mind blowing, words fail to describe the beauty in the designs. The room has hexagons and golden rhombuses in the ceiling and a peculiar frieze with 52 colored and images of people who mattered in the history of Segovia. The Throne Room has a Mudejar dome (kind of architecture) and Gothic- Mudejar plasterworks. The walls are covered with velvet and series of portraits of different kings.
The gardens too looked well manicured with interesting patterns. The views of plains of Segovia seemed perfect!
1 April to 30 September – From 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
1 October to 31 March- Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays
Summer opening hours – Monday to Thursday: from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
The monument is closed on 1st and 6th January, 25th June and 25th December.
Afternoons of 24th and 31st December.
Tickets and prices
General entrance ticket: 3.50 €
Reduced price entry: 2.30 €
Free entry: Children under 6 years old and every Tuesday for citizens of the EU
Tower of Juan II – Ticket – 1 €