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!
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.
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.
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.