….and so it begins, our journey to The Alcazar of Segovia
She sits upon the hilltop guarding over the town, her steady gaze upon us.
Rising out on a rocky crag above the confluence of the rivers Eresma and Clamores near the Guadarrama mountains, it is one of the most distinctive castle-palaces in Spain by virtue of its shape – like the bow of a ship.
The Alcázar was originally built as a fortress but has served as a royal palace, a state prison, a Royal Artillery College and a military academy since then.
The castle is one of the inspirations for Walt Disney’s Cinderella Castle.
The Alcázar of Segovia, like many fortifications in Spain , started off as an Arab fort, which itself was built on a Roman fort but little of that structure remains.
The first reference to this particular Alcázar was in 1120, around 32 years after the city of Segovia returned to Christian hands in the days of Alfonso VI of León and Castile
Throughout the Middle Ages The Alcazar remained one of the favorite residences of the monarchs of the Kingdom of Castile and a key fortress in the defense of the kingdom.
It was during this period a majority of the current building was constructed and the palace was extended on a large scale by the monarchs of the Trastámara dynasty.
Below is a picture of The Throne Room…..
In 1258, parts of the Alcázar had to be rebuilt by King Alfonso X of Castile after a cave-in and soon after the Hall of Kings was built to house Parliament.
The Hall of Kings is a most majestic place and carvings of all the Kings adorn the walls and these ancient Monarchs look down upon the visitors of today…
However, the single largest contributor to the continuing construction of the Alcázar is King John II who built the ‘New Tower’ (John II tower as it is known today).
In 1474, the Alcázar played a major role in the rise of Queen Isabella I of Castile.
On 12 December news of the King Henry IV‘s death in Madrid reached Segovia and Isabella immediately took refuge within the walls of this Alcázar where she received the support of Andres Cabrera and Segovia’s council.
She was crowned the next day as Queen of Castile and León.
There is a very large painting of the Coronation that is just breathtaking…
The interior of the Castle of Segovia is in perfect accordance with the magnificence of its exterior. Many apartments are decorated with delicate traceries and pendant ornaments, in the style of the Alhambra
The Templar Iglesia Vera Cruz (Church of the True Cross) is the most interesting of several splendid Romanesque churches in Segovia and is visible from the windows of The Alcazar
The Church was consecrated in 1208 and built by the Knights Templar to house a fragment of the True Cross
Inside, the round nave centers on an unusual two-story gallery, where the Knights are thought to have kept vigil over the sliver of wood, as it rested on the altar below….
The Church is patterned on the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, where according to legend the True Cross was found by St. Helena in the 4th century.
Such enchantment and history surrounded by snow capped peaks……
Wandering about The Alcazar, one is swept into the history that took place within her walls….
The ancients gaze upon you as you pass from their frozen images in the stained glass…
A world of enchantment…..with the most amazing views…