Alcazar of Segovia, Segovia, Spain

Alcazar of Segovia

Alcazar, a castle-palace, lies in the walled city of Segovia in the province of Segovia in Spain. It's one of the most famous castles in Spain due to the fact that a lot of Spanish kings resided here and because of its beautiful exterior.

The construction of this majestic castle-palace probably began in the last quarter of the 11th century, by King Alfonso VI, following the Reconquest, on a site fortified by the Romans, Visigoths and Moors successively. The great keep, with its dozen semicircular sentry boxes, next to the entrance of the Alcazar over the artificial moat (seen left), was the last to be built. A lot of royals resided here, such as; King Ferdinand III, King Alfonso X, King Juan II and King Enrique IV, who all altered the buildings to their likings.

Building History:
Originally a fortress, the Alcázar has also been a royal palace, the site of Philip II's wedding to his fourth wife, Anne of Austria, and more recently a military academy. In the upper part of the city, the oldest foundations have been identified as Roman. Documents indicate that a fortress existed on this site by the early 12th century known as the Alcázar, an Arabic word for a royal residence. The palace was enlarged in the 13th and 14th centuries and again during the reign of King John II (1405-1454) when towers were added and the East Tower and moat were enlarged. Under Philip II (1558-1598) major alterations were made; slate roofs and spires on towers were added. From 1764-1862 the Royal Artillery College was housed here.

During John II's reign the East Tower was enlarged; now called the Tower of John II, it is twice as high as the original (which came to the line of balls across the center, halfway up) and twice as wide. The double horseshoe window, which dates from the 13th century, was one in the center of the tower. Bars on the windows reveal this tower's history as a state prison.

Patio de Armas, designed by Francisco de Mora, 1593A medieval courtyard, the doorways of which remain, had once provided an open space in the center of the residential part of the palace. During the reign of Philip II (1556-1598) a number of alterations were made, including the design of this parade ground, in the style of the Escorial. (Francisco de Mora was Juan de Herrera's student.) This elegant Renaissance courtyard has two storeys in granite with semi-circular arches on the first floor and a post and lintel structure on the second. Galleries are on three sides of the courtyard, which has a stone fountain at the center.

In 1862 however the Alcazar was devastated by fire. In 1882, it was rebuilt using old sketches of the interior before the fire. It see inside today is a 19th century remake. After completion the Alcazar firstly became the Military Archives and later an Artillery Academy and Museum. In the mid-20th century this use also ended and the Alcazar is now used for cultural activities and as a museum. It's state-owned. Visitors can climb the keep for some great views.

The Moat

The defensive moat goes back to the middle ages although the arcade spanning it dates from the 16th century. At 26 meters down, it was crossed by a drawbridge at the front of the palace.

Here some views of Alcazar of Segovia:
The Outer Hall

The Throne Room

The Galley Room, which gets its name from the shape of the ceiling being like an inverted hull of a ship.

Stained class window in Alcazar

The Pine-Cone Room

Queen of Castille

The Royal Bedroom

The Room of the Monarchs

The frieze bordering the room has figures of all
the monarchs of Asturias, Castile, and Leon.

The Chapel

The Armory

16th century hunting crossbow

Minting coins from the 18th century

The Museum of the Royal Artillery School

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