After 2 days wandering around Madrid, I thought I needed something more interesting to do. I decided a day tour full of history and culture would be just the thing. This is the tour I took (recommended). I took a day trip to the UNESCO listed towns of Segovia and Toledo (blog post to follow on Toledo).
Before the tour started, I was already enjoying myself. I had caught the metro to Las Vestas and when I exited the station, right there is the Plaza de Toros; the bullfighting arena. The arena can hold 24,000 spectators and even has its own chapel and hospital (for when things don’t go the way of the bullfighters I guess).
First stop on the tour was Segovia (northwest of Madrid in the Castile and Leon region) – a walled city dating back to before Christ.
Apparently Segovia was originally a Celtic possession, but control later passed to the Romans. Segovia was UNESCO classified in 1985.
All the buildings in Segovia have a unique finish; it’s very ornamental and you won’t see it anywhere else except for this region. To hide the flaws of the mortared finish they decorated the finishes. They are beautiful:
There are 3 notable monuments in Segovia. The first is the Roman aqueduct.
This is over 2000 years old, has never been restored, so stands as it has always been and was in use up until the 20th century. At its highest point it is 29 metres tall and 818 metres in length, with 170 arches. The aqueduct is constructed using about 25,000 granite blocks and has no mortar holding them in place. Awesome!
The 2nd great thing in Segovia is the Alcazar (the castle), which sits between the rivers Eresma and Clamores and was inhabited by the kings (and queens) of Castile.
This is a real fairytale castle, as it was the castle for the inspiration for Walt Disney’s Snow White castle.
Isabella I (also known as Isabella the Catholic – Isabella of Castile) was crowned here.
It is also the place where she met with Christopher Columbus before sending him on his way to India when he ended up discovering the Americas (Isabella also financed Columbus’s journey by selling her jewels). There’s not much to this building really, and it’s smaller than you might expect, but definitely worth a visit.
There are some great views to be had too.
The 3rd thing of note in Segovia is the Cathedral, a gothic style Roman Catholic Cathedral built between 1525 and 1577. We didn’t get to go inside, but it’s an awesome building.
Segovia was amazing and definitely worth a visit.