Roman Aqueduct of Segovia, Spain

The first sight to greet us in Segovia was this gigantic aqueduct of Segovia. This is one of the most impressive aqueducts of Roman era! Did I touch the aqueduct of Segovia? Oh! YES! I did! Something so old… it was like connecting back to first century AD! The whole of Segovia is full of history but this one just stands out – both visibly and literally! It is still in good shape considering its age at 20 centuries or should I say 2000 years old.

Things like this numb me. The first breathtaking sight I got as I walked out of the parking lot is etched clearly in mind and will remain there for a long time. There is one layer of arches and on top of that runs another layer of arches of smaller dimension. They seemed like cards stacked one above the other. How does it balance itself, I wondered!

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Aqueduct of Segovia Facts

In 1985, UNESCO formally recognized the mesmerizing harmony of Segovia’s old town and the impressive beauty of its aqueduct by declaring them both World Heritage Sites. The aqueduct runs fourteen kilometers long made entirely of hand cut granite rocks, I read later. The aqueduct has 167 arches chiseled out from the granite stones of the Guadarrama Mountains. The aqueduct kept functioning centuries after centuries and is preserved in excellent condition. It provided water to Segovia until the mid 19th century.

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The Legend of Aqueduct of Segovia

The Spaniards have an interesting legend that goes with the construction of this mammoth figure.

It is the legend of a serving girl who used to climb every day, to the very top of the mountain and return with her pitcher full of water. One day, fed up and tired of this daily toil, she made a wish to the Devil. She asked the Devil to build some means by which she would no longer need to go up and down every morning with her pitcher. Lucifer the devil granted her wish, asking for her soul in return if he managed to finish the aqueduct before the cockerel crowed.

The girl agreed and the Devil began to build the aqueduct. As he was almost completing it the girl regretted her decision and appealed to God, praying to upset the devil’s plan. A scary thunderstorm erupted, hindering the devil from carrying huge stones. Just as he was about to lay the last stone, the cockerel crowed, meaning the Devil lost his wager and the girl kept her soul. In the gap that remained, the statue of the Virgin of Fuencisla, patroness of the city, stands today.

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Interesting! Isn’t it! But the fact remains engineers of Roman era were brilliant and highly talented. The Aqueduct of Segovia served the practical purpose of transporting water from the Rio Frio River about 17kms away from the mountains. There is an inscription on the top of the aqueduct which states its origin. How the aqueduct functioned is explained very well in the wiki link.

My List of Aqueducts I Have Visited

I have seen three aqueducts in Portugal. They were in Evora, Elvas and Tomar. I saw one more in Spain in Merida. This aqueduct of Segovia is included in the list of 10 most beautiful Roman aqueducts in the world. You can see the entire list here: 10 Most Beautiful Roman Aqueducts. I have seen 2 in this list. How many have you seen?

The best place to view this monument is at the Plaza del Azoguejo, the hub of the Old Town. We climbed the steep stairs that rise by the side of the aqueduct to go up and reached the level of the top of the aqueduct. The aqueduct reaches its maximum height of 28 meters here. From this spot we could get a great view of the small town below. If you wish to just see and walk away it will hardly take any time, because it is there for all to see for free. I will suggest keep aside at least an hour to explore this Roman structure.

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68 Responses

  1. eileen says:

    Hello, the aqueduct is an amazing structure and a wonderful heritage site.

    Happy Sunday, enjoy your new week ahead!

  2. magiceye says:

    Lovely pictures of this amazing structure! The legend is also fascinating!

  3. Nice read, shots are very nice.

  4. Sneh says:

    Amazing architecture… was not aware of this place earlier.. thanks for sharing!!!

  5. Shrikant says:

    Heritage! Such sites left us wondering how ancient people manage to hand craft stone so precisely without any machines.

  6. Kala Ravi says:

    What an amazing structure! Worth a visit! Lovely captures!

  7. 14 Kms long! That’s very very long. Really a brilliant piece of engineering work. Great captures and very well written.

  8. Anita says:

    Interesting. Greats pics, indrani 🙂
    Wanna visit!

  9. Loved the stone arches…

  10. Oh, wow! I would love to see this. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  11. Niranjan says:

    That looks so beautiful.

  12. divsi says:

    Looks like an architectural delight. Superb pictures!

  13. Mridula says:

    My count of aquaducts is firmly stuck at zero!

  14. What an amazing and gigantic structure. Good pics Indrani.

  15. Ami says:

    That is an interesting structure and an even more interesting story behind it. I wonder if the Hampi one was as impressive, though it does seem so

  16. Seems like a great place Indrani; thanks for sharing!

  17. wow! What an amazing structure. Gorgeous captures 🙂

  18. dNambiar says:

    Amazing!!
    That’s such a huge and impressive structure. Too bad they don’t make aqueducts like this any more.

  19. vatsala mallya says:

    Wonderful heritage structure ! Great piece of history attached dating back to 1st century ! Lovely pictures .

  20. klara says:

    impressive structure. great shots.

  21. I almost get the chills – a physical response, just as you said of yourself – when I am greeted by something this old and impressive. This is a great post and I share your enthusiasm for aqueducts (and all other construction) that date back 2000 years!

  22. It still amazes me the staying power of all these structures. It is beautiful.

  23. Beautiful structure- seems delicate yet strong at the same time

  24. Wonderful place. I guess nowhere such structures are seen.

  25. I was speechless when I visited Segovia. It is hard to believe the aqueduct is still standing after 2,000 years.

  26. Bob says:

    Wonderful images Indrani.

  27. Amazingly strong yet beautiful Aqueducts ; Thanks for introducing this Amazing Structure to me 🙂 Lovely Pics and Informative Read.

  28. Just seeing your photos of the aqueduct numbs me with awe. I would’ve touched it, too!
    Take 25 to Hollister

  29. It is strikingly beautiful !

  30. I’ve always wanted to see Roman aqueducts! 😀 The architecture is amazing! 😀

  31. Beautiful sculptures.. you have portrayed them very nicely 🙂

  32. budget jan says:

    I’ve been to Segovia and agree that the aqueduct is astounding. The way it has stuck together over time – the devil must have been a good stone mason lol. Love the Legend and smart thinking on the girl’s behalf.

  33. ladyfi says:

    Lovely shots of the aqueduct. And I enjoyed the legend that goes with it.

  34. Meera says:

    superb architecture. nicely captured too.

  35. thomas says:

    Wow! That’s one interesting legend and very spectacular aqueduct

  36. Chaicy says:

    The architecture is beautifully capture, I commend you on that.

    xoxo – Chaicy
    Style.. A Pastiche

  37. I can see why you’re so fascinated by these aqueduct, it’s impressive the structure has held up so long with so many levels. The last one with a person reading really puts into perspective the size of the aqueduct.

  38. We’ve seen the Pont du Gard near Avignon. Most impressive if you think with what basic tools they built it. Traveling parts of Africa I’d like the people to be more enterprising like the Romans instead of carrying their buckets of water kilometers far. #TPThursday

  39. Marcia says:

    That’s an interesting description – like a stacked deck of cards. It looks stunning, even in photos. Thanks to that unknown serving girl for making this aqueduct possible.
    I’ve yet to make it to Segovia, such a beautiful part of Spain.

  40. noel says:

    I’ve always wanted to visit this aquaduct in person and the city is so inspiring, I still have it on my checklist of amazing ancient cities to visit.

  41. Kallsy P says:

    Wow, I’ve always wanted to visit here and this post has definitely made me want to visit even more. The architecture is so fascinating to look at and the history of course is interesting as well. Especially how it has managed to hold up and be preserved for such a long period of time!

  42. As an engineer, Roman aqueducts have always fascinated me. I know that many of them are still standing and working. What I didn’t know was that Segovia has perhaps the most beautiful one. What surprised me even more is that it wasn’t until 1985 that it was recognized as a heritage site. Thank you for taking me someplace amazing today.

  43. It is a really amazing sight to see! I remember pulling up to the first place I stopped on a trip in Israel which was an aquaduct, and it was just as moving of an experience as you had. It’s just this really old part of history that’s so cool to be a part of, even so many thousands of years later.

  44. I love how you describe seeing the aqueduct for the first time. It’s easy to sense your curiosity and love for historical sights. The only Roman aqueduct I’ve seen is the Pont du Gard in France. There are actually a few other Roman ruins nearby that are worth seeing, too. Segovia looks like a fantastic place to visit. I love UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

  45. Tom says:

    I was there some years ago and thought it w as amazing. Segovia is a brilliant town and an easy day trip from Madrid.

  46. I really wanted to visit Segovia on my last trip to Spain but couldn’t fit it in. The aqueduct is amazing!

  47. Sriparna says:

    It’s lovely to learn about the history and facts! Spain is indeed so beautiful in its architectural domain! Lovely captures!

  48. Gabi says:

    This is the second article I found this week about this aqueduct. Maybe it’s a sign and I must add Segovia to my list of places to visit. Your description is very thorough and the pictures really do the job depicting the magnificence of the structure.

  49. Sheri says:

    The architecture is so amazing and this is a place I really want to visit. I have seen the pictures and every time I am in awe of it. The grandness and the way it stands out makes it a definite must see.

  50. If it were me, it would numb me too, just seeing places and structures of hundreds years old, let alone 2000 years old. From the list, I’ve seen Valens Aqueduct in Istanbul, Turkey and it took my breath away even from afar.

  51. Rosemary says:

    Fascinating story. Really interesting reading about the God and the devil. In any case, the aqueducts are incredible and the engineering is magnificent. Would love to see these at some point. Thanks for sharing.

  52. Sarah says:

    What an interesting story of the serving girl. I love this kind of deep, intelligent travel with cultural stories!!

  53. Sophie says:

    This looks like one of the best aqueducts I have seen! Loved learning about the history – you’d never guess it was 2000 years old!

  54. Anju says:

    A very different sight to behold, and its own fairytale story for a background! I had to look up what aqueduct meant lol. Loved that you had a dose of history and local culture in your post, thanks for sharing 🙂

  55. Shane says:

    An architectural marvel of epic proportions! Reminds me of the pont du Gard in Greece!

  56. verushka says:

    Utterly beautiful and hard to believe it is 20 centuries old. I must read up more on aqueducts now. Loved the legend always fascinates me hearing stories from the locals.

  57. I’m always blown away by the amazing structures from the Roman era too – the talent which went into the engineering especially at the time, and the fact that they’re so wide spread across Europe is so impressive!

  58. suanlee says:

    14 kilometres of hand cut grant rocks to make 147 arches? That is some serious skill and dedication. How it manages to stay strong and architecturally timeless over 20 centuries escapes me. Fantastic post.

  59. Cori says:

    Segovia is so incredibly beautiful! I couldn’t find a CouchSurfing host for a few nights I was planning on spending in Madrid, so I ended up in Segovia instead and I’m so glad I did. The view of the city from above was stunning and there are so many charming things to see, like the aqueduct.

    I used to do B2B marketing for water engineering firms and fundraising for university water research, so now I’m a bit of a nerd about it for life. Seeing the aqueduct was very cool.

  60. Wow, I had very little time in Spain and couldn’t really appreciate much of what this country has to offer. Segovia is new to me and it looks incredible. The ruins are spectacular and bring character to the area.

  61. Aditi says:

    Haven’t been to Segovia, but these ruins look spactacular and the story behind it is really interesting. Thanks for sharing this!

  62. EG III says:

    I just learned about these aqueducts earlier this year and I have been wanting to go ever since. I haven’t been to any aqueducts on the 10 best list, but it looks like this one would be a good place to start!

  63. Carmy says:

    What an interesting legend! Funny how she prayed and God decided that he wanted to mess up the devil’s plan. I find that when I get to know the story of a building, it makes the trip so much more interesting. I’m a little bummed that I won’t be finishing my year off in Spain so these photos of the architecture will have to suffice!

  64. Ami says:

    What an interesting story. The victory of good over evil and the reason for the statue on the Aqueduct. Indeed an intriguing place. I am totally inspired to visit Spain…thanks to all your posts.

  65. Paola says:

    I haven’t seen this one, but a couple of aqueducts in France. I share your opinion: they are huge! And I am always impressed when thinking how did they build it without all the advanced tools we have nowadays!

  66. Joanna says:

    It is amazing that the aqueduct actually worked until mid 19th century and that it is still in perfect conditions! I wonder why they’ve stopped it, I think it would be amazing to see the water running. I have never seen such an impressive aqueduct before and i can’t believe it runs for 14 km!

  67. Tae says:

    Such a great piece of history! I love that UNESCO honors the area as well. I also wish we could see it in action 😛 incredible what people created during a time where technology was so limited.

  68. blair villanueva says:

    It was an interesting story, and I admire that these aqueducts standly proud for all these years. I wonder what is the real purpose of old people by building aqueducts?

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