Call it fate.
Call it karma.
Call it luck.
Call it the allure of the Spanish countryside. My parents came for a visit!
With our week off for Easter vacation, we met my parents in Madrid for a long awaited chance to show them around our home away from home. We went to the Prado museum (to see the Goyas and others) and the Palacio Real (to see the king of Spain, who wasn’t even there). We took a drive through La Mancha to see the windmills and then stopped for a walk through history in the capital of medieval Spain, Toledo. And we also visited Alcazar at Segovia – a castle that inspired Sleeping Beauty‘s Castle in Disneyland.
Roughly translated to mean “City of Victory“, Segovia is about an hour and a half from downtown Madrid – the present-day capital city of Spain and their seat of royalty. In addition to it’s fairy tale like castle, the city has quite a rich history.
The aqueduct dates the settlement to the Roman Empire (the city was the site of a battle in 75 BCE). And like all other ancient cities that have survived to today, it held an important position along trade routes. It was an important center for wool and textiles. Going back to the aqueduct, it is known as the most important Roman civil engineering work in the area, as it consists of 25,000 granite blocks which are held together without any mortar! It spans 818 meters and has over 170 arches! Quite impressive…
Likewise, the Alcazar is a royal palace of some majesty. Originally built as an Arab fort, the structure was built on top of a smaller Roman fort. Its design made it one of the favorite residences of the monarchs of the Kingdom of Castile. And in 1474, Isabella took refuge within the walls after learning of King Henry IV’s death. On December 13th, she was enthroned as Queen.
As fun as the castle is to look at from the outside, it is equally (if not more) impressive from within. Between portraits, armories, tapestries, and carpets, the ornamentation of the many rooms was completed by Arabian workmen during the Christian rule – combining elements from both religious traditions.
If you are a fan of Walt Disney, or just visit central Spain, you’ll be remiss if you don’t take a half day to visit this marvelous castle on the rocky crag.
Hasta La Proxima…