Romanesque is the word most applied to Segovia. So, it makes sense to highlight one church as the local symbol of that style. Sure! But...
Which one? They are so many! They are so beautiful! Maybe San Millan? Why not? But why not San Juan de los Caballeros? And San Martin? and...
Give up! You better have a look for yourself: they are close to each other and easy to visit.
My mother has done lots of work with stained glass over the years. So with that, I may have a particular appreciation for its artistry, delicate nature and skill required to make it.
Inside the Alcazar, there are some very nice windows with painted stained glass. Some styles have the colored mosaic completely comprised with different color glass panels. This can be difficult, particularly as the overall panels become larger and the individual pieces become smaller. Complexities with the weight of the solder, cutting of the glass, flexibility of the panels, etc. sometimes make it impractical. The panels in Alcazar have colored panels, but added paint layers for finer details. It still gives a fine silhouette with the light behind.
Without trying to sound too repetitious of the other entries on the Alcazar, here's a brief history.
It may be interesting to note the that Alcazar (dating back to the 12th century) was for a long time a Royal residence during the Middle Ages, popular with royalty of all of Europe. However when the Court migrated south to Madrid, its walls became cells to prisoners for more than two hundred years before transforming into a military (artillery) school and archives.
This is obviously one of the main attractions in La Granja. The spanish ruler Felipe V retired here in 1724. He wanted to create here a residence like the one in Versailles. So he planned and extended the gardens and the palace to their nowadays appearance. The Palace was used as a summer residence by many spanish kings until Alfonso XIII.
The weekend I visited Segovia the pedestrian street of avenida de Fernandez Ladreda was full of people for two reasons.
First of all there was a big market there with many kiosks selling products from different provinces of Spain (cheese, jamon, souvenirs etc). I bought frying pan with a clock to put on my kitchen’s wall! (pic n.2). There were also some soaps with flavors like chocolate!!
Anyway, it was funny for a while to see at the end of the street next to the aqueduct, all the strange celebration about May 2, 1808 with all these men and women dressed in that era costumes but the most important part was the boiled pulpo(octopus) served in one of the kiosks. Spicy enough I washed it down with several beers after! :) The women behind the kiosks (pic 5) were cutting the octopus in small pieces with scissors! video
Plaza del Azoguejo is the square in front of the Aqueduct. The cars used to pass from there several years before but hopefully they noticed that this caused trouble to the acueduct so the area in front of it converted into a pedestrian zone. There you will also find the Tourist Info and some nice restaurants.
What’s more I planned my several walking tours in the city from here such as:
1.You can walk up Calle de Cervantes. This is the typical walk to the main square and then to the Alcazar.
2.You can walk on Avenida de Fernandez Ladreda. This is the pedestrian street you will walk anyway on your way down from the bus station. You will see the Cathedral on your left but don’t left yet, continue straight until you reach the Aqueduct so to go first to the INFO office.
3.You can take one of the local buses at the other side of the Aqueduct
4.You can walk in one of the small streets and get lost for a while in this small beautiful town. At calle de Gobernador Fernandez Gimenez you can find a DIA market for supplies
5.Just climb up the stairs next to the Aqueduct and enjoy the view
What’s more at plaza del Azoguejo there was a weekend festival called “Recreacion Historica por las called de Segovia” dedicated to the celebration of May 2 1808 revolution with several acts, dances etc (pics 1-2 and video) The festival takes place not only at this square but at Plaza Mayor also. On May 2, 1808, the people of Madrid rebelled against the occupation of the city by French troops, provoking a brutal repression by the French Imperial forces and triggering the Peninsular War.
When you go for a visit of the Alcazar, you are offered the option of paying an extra 2 Euros to go up the Tower of Juan II, which was built during the 15th century. If you are slightly out of shape, then perhaps you might want to pass on climbing the narrow, uneven steps; otherwise, I'd say go for it! The view from the top of the tower is simply incredible and when you compare the admission price with what you have to pay to climb up other well-known European monuments (say, 8 Euros for the Arc du Triomphe in Paris), you're actually getting a pretty good deal!
Just like the Alcazar, the Tower of Juan II is open daily from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm. It is also possible to go up the tower without visiting the alcazar, but who would want to do that?!
The Alcazar of Segovia dates back to the beginning of the 12th century, although there is no way of knowing for sure when it was built - the presence of the aqueduct nearby has led many historians to believe it might have been the site of a 1st century Roman fortress. Even if it was first built as a fortress, throughout the years the Alcazar has also served as a state prison, a military academy, and a royal palace. It has now been restored to look the way it did when the King and Queen of Spain lived in Segovia.
Before I went to Segovia, some people told me that the Alcazar was similar to Cinderella's Castle at Walt Disney World - I can't say that I saw much resemblance, but I was still very impressed with my visit, especially as it was my first time walking around a real Medieval castle, complete with a drawbridge built to get across the surrounding ditch. You can pick up a leaflet as you go in, and this will provide you with all the information you need to go on a self-guided tour. Oh, and pictures are actually allowed inside the Alcalzar, a rare feat in Spain!
The Alcazar is open daily, from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm. Admission costs 4 Euros.
A bit like Toledo, Segovia is a city in which you're just dying to get lost. The main difference with Toledo, however, is that you don't have that claustrophobic feeling when you walk through the streets of Segovia, nor do you risk getting run over by a tour bus! Somehow the sun manages to reach the narrow streets of the old city and with so much amazing architecture and a gorgeous natural setting, beautiful sites are waiting to be discovered around every corner. So go on, lose yourself for a while, and I dare you not to fall in love with Segovia!!
If you're looking for a good place to end your day in Segovia, you might want to experience the atmosphere of Avenida de Fernandez Ladreda in the evening. As the main street leading to the aqueduct, the Avenida is full of restaurants, bars and cafes, and it becomes very lively in the evening as daytrippers and locals, families and students all grab a table at one of the many sidewalk patios, or simply sit down on a bench and chat for a while. A really good spot if you feel like having one last drink and order a few tapas before heading back to the bus station which is located just down the street.
There are many beautiful churches in Segovia, both inside and outside the fortifications, with many dating as far back as the beginning of the 12th century. The most interesting ones are the Iglesia de San Esteban, the Iglesia de San Millan, the Iglesia de Santo Justo and the Capilla de la Vera Cruz, which was built by the Knights Templar and now belongs to the Knights of Malta (various legends surround this chapel owing to the secret ceremonies that were allegedly held within its walls). If you have enough time, it's well worth visiting them, although most are only open to the public for a few hours every day (usually from about 10:30 am to 1:30 pm, and then from 4:30 pm to 7:00 pm).
I thought this was one of the most charming plazas in Segovia - there isn't that much to do but look around and enjoy the atmosphere and architecture, which is basically what a day in Segovia should be all about. On the one side, you can see the beautiful Iglesia de San Martin, built during the 12th century in a magnificient romanesque-mudejar style. On the other side of the calle Juan Bravo, you can go down a few steps to a small terrace from where you'll be able to enjoy a very nice view of the city down below. A nice little stop on your way to the cathedral and alcazar!
After a 5’ walk from the Cathedral you will see the entrance for the impressive fortess Alcazar. First of all you will see plaza de la Reina Victoria Eugenia with a big monument of her. A lot people go on the right before entering the castle and lying down on the grass admiring the landscape.
Before entering the alcazar you have to go to the Real Laboratorio de Chimia for buying your ticket. In fact there are two tickets because the castle has the first level with the museum and the areas around and the tower and if you don’t want to go up because of the many steps you can buy a ticket only for the first floor.
The museum general ticket costs 4euro,
The ticket for the tower of Juan II 2euro
The guided tour 1euro
Opening hours april-september(10-19:00) october-march(10-18:00)
Free entrance each third Tuesday of month
This stone castle is famous among the tourists because Disney supposed to use it as an inspiration for the fairytale castel of the Sleeping Beauty! It located up on a rocky crag and it was built in the 12th century over the remains of an old Roman Fortress and for the reason it has roman and celtic origins. The Castilian monarchs used it as a residence but in the 17th century the castle served as a prison until 1764 when it was converted into the Royal Artillery School.
I spend a lot of time inside the castle. I entered into the Arms courtyard and turn left into the museum of the Royal Artillery school. I came back to the yard and I explored the smaller rooms like: The Old castle hall, the fireplace hall, the throne hall, the galley chamber, the pine cone hall, the royal bedroom, the hall of monarchs, the hall of the rope and the chapel. Finally I went out.to the well balcony, I took some more nice photos, I noticed the great garden and I returned back first to the hall of armarments and then back to the arms courtyard I was at the beginning.
Now it was time for the tower of Juan II. The excellent views of the surrounding countryside from the tower was amazing. Have in mind the narrow staircase of the tower has 152 steps and you’re gonna be tired going up.
I liked a lot some small squares along the city.
Plaza Medina del campo is a square that you will walk by anyway on your way to the Cathedral on calle Juan Bravo. It’s the square with the statue of Juan Bravo facing the church of San Martin.
Juan Bravo (John the Brave 1483-1521) was the leader of the rebel army that is known as Comuneros in the Castilian War of the Communities(a war against the rule of Charles V April 16, 1520 – Feb 3, 1522). He lived in Segovia after his marriage with Catalina del Rio in 1504. His army defeated at the Battle of Villalar(April 23, 1521) where he was captured and beheaded the day after such as the other two rebel leaders Juan Lopez de Padilla and Francisco Maldonado. The statue was built in 1921 400 years after his death and it looks very nice with the background of the old house at the background.
If you walk up the stairs there is another small square called San Martin plaza with a nice fountain (there is also a café for a small break). Then you can visit the museum of contemporary art or get lost inside the small alleys like I did. After a while I found another square, the Plaza de los huertos with the Arias Davila tower next to it. Then I saw many more small squares like Guevara square but can’t remember all because I got lost for a while :)
Ok, maybe the Cathedral takes all the attention but there are several other churches that are very interesting to visit and to be seen. Some of them are built in the Romanesque style which I found interesting enough like the churches San Martin, San Esteban, San Milan or church of the Vera Cruz (this one outside of the city). Romanesque style in architecture is known by its thick walls, round arches, large towers and decorative arcading and describes the architecture that emerged in Europe in the late 10th century until its evolution into Gothic style in the 12th century.
-church of San Martin
The Church of St Martin is one of the typical romanesque churches and you can notice some parts in Spanish-Arabian style. It was built in the 10th century. You will see it when you walk up the calle del Cervantes right next to Juan Bravo statue. The interesting part of the building is the atrium and its archery and then some pictures of the 15th century.
-church of San Milan
Another church in Romanesque style and probably the first you will see as you walk down the avenida Fernandez Ladreda as you come from the bus station on your left hand. It was built on 1111 and the tower built in the 11th century with a Spanish Arabian style. Nothing special inside.
-church of Saint Esteban
One of my favorite churches, the church of St Esteban was built in 13th century with an impressive tower that is called "The Queen of the Bizantine towers". As elsewhere in Segovia you can see again the arched atrium. There an important Calvary inside the church from the 13th century.
-church of San Clemente
Another Romanesque church on avenida Fernandez Ladreda on your right as you approach the aqueduct. It’s was built in the 13th century and the exceptionally wide tower and the unusual apse with the six windows at the back are to be seen.
-church of San Miguel
This isn’t anything special from architecture point of view but it’s close to plaza Mayor on Infanta Isabel street
The Cathedral of Segovia is sometimes called "La Dama de las Catedrales" because of its superior elegance and large dimensions. It is also considered by many as the last great Gothic cathedral built in Spain, although its design was also clearly influenced by the Renaissance. The cathedral was built between 1525 and 1527, during the reign of King Carlos V. It is not quite as big as the one in Toledo, but many will find its architectural details more interesting - you can enjoy an especially great view of the cathedral when walking around the cloister. Inside there are many beautiful and richly decorated chapels that can be visited.
The cathedral is open daily from 9:30 am to 5:30 pm, and admission costs 3 Euros. You can pick up a small leaflet that will give you some information about all the different chapels, thus making it possible to go on a self-guided tour.