Segovia Aqueduct - History and Facts | History Hit

Segovia Aqueduct

Segovia, Castile and Leon, Spain

The Segovia Aqueduct is one of the best preserved Roman structures in Spain. UNESCO listed.

Peta Stamper

20 May 2021
Image Credit: Shutterstock

About Segovia Aqueduct

Segovia Aqueduct in Spain is an amazingly preserved Roman structure representing a brilliant feat of engineering. Built at around the turn of the 1st century AD, the Segovia Aqueduct still stands tall and includes 2 levels of granite arches to a total length of 800 metres.

Despite suffering damage under the Moorish occupation, this stunning site now weaves through Segovia, looming over the urban sprawl at a maximum height of almost 30 metres. Segovia Aqueduct is also part of the UNESCO World Heritage site of the Old Town of Segovia and its Aqueduct.

Segovia Aqueduct history

Without a legible inscription, the date of construction is uncertain. However, the general gate is likely during the reigns of Emperors Domitian, Nerva and Trajan in the late 1st and early 2nd century AD. Bronze letters found have indicted more specifically to 98 AD, commissioned under Domitian.

Roman troops sent to Segovia to control the local Arevaci people settled there, and the area thus fell into the Clunia province. The aqueduct’s design followed the guidelines of Roman architect and engineer Vitruvius in his De Architectura, written for his patron Julius Caesar in the 1st century BC. Segovia Aqueduct once held the image of Hercules on one of the tallest arches, believed to be the city’s founder.

With 2 tiers, the ever-declining slope of the aqueduct transported water from a large tank to the walled city centre, turning then towards Plaza Azoguejo and reached 28.5 metres high. Within the city a distribution systems shared water underground.

In the 15th century under the Catholic Monarchs, a portion of the arches in the Segovia Aqueduct’s first section were reconstructed, having been destroyed by the Moors in 1072. So faithful was the reconstruction that water continued to serve the city via the aqueduct until the early 20th century.

Segovia Aqueduct today

Today, while many Roman aqueducts have crumbled beneath the weight of time, Segovia Aqueduct has remained and can be viewed in its almost original glory. Keen explorers will find a replica of the Capitoline‘s bronze sculpture of the she-wolf that mothered Romulus and Remus beneath the aqueduct.

The aqueduct is also nicknamed ‘Puente de Diable’ or Devil’s Bridge because of local legend that whispers Lucifer’s role in building the bridge to impress a woman. Nevertheless, this devilishly spectacular structure is best enjoyed from the Plaza Azoguejo where its pillars reach their highest point – particularly lit up at night.

Getting to Segovia Aqueduct

Plaza Azoguejo can be reached easily on foot when exploring Segovia, and the Segovia Aqueduct is seen throughout the city. If getting to the square via public transport, buses 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 8, 10 and B all stop at Loba Capitolina (19), and you will walk underneath the aqueduct to reach the square’s vantage point.

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