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2020-08-21 12:13:56

The Aqueduct of Segovia - an engineering and architectural masterpiece of the ancient Romans

The Aqueduct of Segovia - an engineering and architectural masterpiece of the ancient Romans

In the period from 300 to 400 BC. on the territory of Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome, about 800 practical and beautiful structures were built - aqueducts. Surprisingly, some of them still function today! The Spanish city of Segovia is the custodian of one of these grandiose buildings. Every traveler will be amazed at the antiquity, scale and appearance of the aqueduct located on the main square of the city and being its unique symbol!

The history of the oldest building

The aqueduct in Segovia is the oldest engineering site and a national treasure in Spain. According to historians, it was built in the 1st-2nd century. The grandiose structure of the ancient Romans makes a truly lasting impression! The aqueduct is built from 20,400 granite blocks without any bonding compound. The structure is supported by its own weight and due to the precision of engineering calculations. The aqueduct has 167 arches and reaches 29m. in height, and the length of its bridge is 818m. The project of an ancient engineering and architectural structure belongs to Vitruvius, a Roman mechanical scientist, who presented it in his treatise "Architecture".

In 1702, an engineering and architectural masterpiece was partially destroyed during the attack of the Moors. And in the 15th century, thanks to the efforts of the prior of the monastery del Parral, Don Pedro Messa, it was possible to carry out restoration work and restore damaged elements.


The aqueduct was invented by the Romans to deliver clean water to the city. For the 1st century, it was a rather complex system that included several steps:

  • Step 1. River water is collected in a special reservoir
  • Step 2. From there it enters the water tower, where it settles and is cleaned of debris and sand
  • Step 3. Next, the water begins to move along the aqueduct gutter, built at a minimum angle of inclination (1 °), and flows through the entire city.

Thus, the Romans managed to provide their settlements with an uninterrupted supply of clean water.


The ancient legend of the aqueduct

Like all ancient buildings, the Segovia aqueduct has its own legend, according to which most of the building was made by the Devil. According to legend, a girl who carried water in jugs to the city was very tired of this occupation and said that she would give her soul to the unclean if the water came by itself with the first cock's cry. When Satan began to lay out the aqueduct of huge stones, the girl realized her mistake and began to pray earnestly to the Lord. She asked not to let the Devil finish the job and save her soul. The Almighty heard the girl's prayer and at the same second a terrible thunderstorm broke out, which prevented the unclean from working. With the first rooster, the fierce cry of Satan was heard, who did not manage to report the last stone until the aqueduct was fully ready. The girl's soul was saved. Local residents, having learned about this, installed the last stone, consecrated it and let water in. Today, if you look closely, you can see the notches on the blocks - marks left by the Devil's fingers!

Interesting Facts

  • In 1884, the Segovia aqueduct was ranked among the national monuments of Spain, and in 1985 the engineering and architectural structure officially became a UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • In the days of the ancient Romans, the arches of the upper tier were decorated with images of the patrons of the city: Hercules of Egypt, the Holy Virgin Fuencisla, St. Esteban, made of bronze. The last 2 figures can be seen today - they were recreated during the reconstruction in the 16th century.
  • Of the 800 aqueducts built by the Romans across Europe, the Spanish bridge is the longest.

Object type: monument.

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Egor Eremeev
Current material has been prepared by Egor Eremeev
Education: Westminster University (Business & Management), London.
Egor studied and lived in the UK for 8 years and graduated from the university of Westminster. He is currently the co-founder and the director of business development at Smapse Education and personally visits foreign schools and universities, interviews students studying in those institutions.
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