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Alcazar of Segovia

A magnificent composition of the Mudéjar and Gothic styles, a picturesque location on a crag at the confluence of the Eresma and Clamores rivers, the rich interiors of the chambers, artistically crafted over centuries, century after century, for the royal family – all these attributes belong to the Alcázar of Segovia. For many centuries, this important gem of architecture was the residence of monarchs of Castile and León, who finally turned this unknown stronghold from the early Middle Ages into one of the most fascinating castles in Spain. In the 20th century the castle became a popular museum and together with other buildings in the old city centre of Segovia entered the UNESCO World Heritage List.

History of the Alcázar

The name "Alcazar" indicates that the history of this castle dates back to the beginning of Moorish rule on the Iberian Peninsula. The Moors constructed their "Alcazars" (strongholds) in a number of places in today's Spain and Portugal. It is unknown when exactly the stronghold of Segovia was built by Saracens, but it is obvious that it must have been constructed between the 7th and 9th century. In the 20th century, when archaeological excavation work was carried out in the city, evidence was found that forts or fortifications had already been built here during Roman rule and were probably destroyed by the Visigoths before the Arabs conquered Spain. In 1085 Alfonso VI's forces drove Saracens out of Segovia, easily taking the wooden fortress, whose destiny was to be turned into one of the most beautiful castles in Spain. The first written references to this castle come from the 12th century, and while in 1120 the castle was described as an unknown "fortress on the hill at the Eresma River", by 1155 in the archives of the castle church it was known as "Alcazares Castle" – this name was traditionally used for strongholds and palaces built in the Moorish style. (more)

Alcázar architecture

The most prominent part of the castle is Torre de Juan II tower which owes its name to the king who reigned at the time of construction. (Juan II was the Castilian king who was considered to be the clumsiest ruler in whole dynasty). The function of the tower was to defend the fortress from attacks, and later it was used as a jail. In the middle of the façade there are semicircular towers, and on the sides there are several towers which are said to be an inspiration for Disney’s Cinderella Castle. The tower is topped with battlements with noble arms composed. In front of the castle there is the second tower (Torre del Homenaje) built on the rectangle plan. On its four corners there are little “Disney’s” towers and in the middle of the façade one big tower with observation deck and a well (La Terraza del Pozo). (more)

What can you see there?

The long history of the Alcázar of Segovia is reflected in many splendid rooms built in different periods and various styles – adequately to the spirit of these periods. When visiting the castle, visitors can see 11 magnificent rooms and an artillery display and climb up the Juan II Tower, which once served as an arsenal. One of the oldest rooms in the castle is the Hall of the original palace, dating back to the times of King Alfonso X. This room is also known as the Hall with Venetian stained glass windows, you can also see the old rosettes (flower-shaped ornaments) decorating the space between the windows. A collection of suits of armour in the style of German knights from the 15th century is also displayed in this room. The Chimney Room was built in the times of King Philip II, and the interior and the furnishings suit the design of the 16th century.

The extremely rich decor of the Throne Room looks impressive. You can enter the Throne Room from the Fireplace Room, going through a Mudéjar portal. Here you can see old portraits of a Catholic royal couple – Isabella I and Ferdinand. The two thrones with the crest and motto of Catholic monarchs were created in honour of Isabella I and Ferdinand in the early 20th century, the day before King Alfonso XIII and his wife Victoria Eugenie of Battenberg visited the Alcázar.

Opening hours of the Alcázar Castle:

April – September – from 10:00 am to 7:00 pm;
October – March – from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.