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S e g o v i a January 31, 2016

Posted by anagasto in building, photography, Spain.
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The aqueduct is 2000 years old and built without cement, without glue, without anything but stones to keep the stones from falling.

All that to get a little water to your breakfast table!

This photo was in public domain at Wikipedia, but it is no longer there and even the TinEye Reverse Image Search could not produce its present location.

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It was built by the Romans. They cut the stones and set them down where their weight would keep them in place forever.

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If you enlarge the picture, you can still see the holes they drilled into each stone for the tongs to hold the weight.

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(c) ghD

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(c) ghD
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The Romans did have mortar. It was made of lime mixed with sand. They used it to build that reddish top fringe that you see in the photo below.  That is the pipeline. It is rounded inside to let the water flow more easily.

And all around the aqueduct, at this time of the year, there are thousands of swallows crisscrossing the sky, because for the swallows the Roman aqueduct is a high rise apartment building. Guaranteed no cats up there.

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Their families live in the small holes that opened up between some of the stones.

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Segovia aqueduct by MAO (c) MAO

Wasn’t this taken from the car while driving?

That would be very strange, because this particular photographer had better be careful about getting booked. That wouldn’t help his CV at all.

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Below is the castle of Segovia. It is called  Alcazar, which is Arabic for “castle”. The Arabs ruled large parts of Spain for 800 years, and so in the Spanish language there are many Arab words. Many of them begin with Al and are easy to spot:

Walt Disney used this castle as a model for some of his drawings.

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Segovia castle 1 by MAO  (c) MAO

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Segovia castle 2 by MAO  (c) MAO

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It must have been awful cold inside in winter. Some say that the Walt Disney castle was based on Schloss Neuschwanstein in Bavaria, Germany:

Neuschwanstein photographed by Softeis is at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Castle_Neuschwanstein.jpg
under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

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Segovia landscape by MAO (c) MAO

I believe this is the Segovia landscape as seen from the Alcazar. The photo  is by MAO and has just come in, but he is on a vacation and out of reach. —  It is a great photo anyway, with the curve of the clouds to celebrate the rise of the ground.

That brown colour is typical of central Spain in summer. Typical, too, is that little church,  old architecture which to foreigners often looks a bit clumsy.

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The cathedral of Segovia:

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This is how they used to  attach buildings to their cathedral or to each other or to the city wall that surrounded them all:

Photo by josemanuel at http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Segovia_San_Mill%C3%A1n_02_JMM.JPG under  CC Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.
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This picture of Segovia is about 150 years old and you can see how big the aqueduct and the cathedral and the castle were compared to the town.

There was also a Roman circus, even bigger, but there is nothing left of it. At the time they could not foresee that it might draw tourists from all over the world.

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And this is a photo taken from a balloon to show the aqueduct and to the right  the city walls:

The photo by McPolu  is under aCC Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic licenseat http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/14/Vista-aerea-del-acueducto-de-Segovia.jpg

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from Meister der Weltchronik, the Masters of World News, at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tower_of_Babel:

The painter imagined that to build the tower of Babel the stones  were lifted with that same tool which is still in use, still being manufactured.

It was a great invention, but in the picture above it is an anachronism, a  mistake in timing, because the device was invented much later, in Greece.

See how the weight of the stone would keep it from falling:

The bigger the weight, the stronger the grip of the tongs. Maybe it could be said that it uses gravity to keep itself from falling :-)

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Comments»

1. Andreas Kluth - July 12, 2010

Amazing achievements, those aqueducts. They seem even to have withstood earthquakes in some places. Which seems unfathomable, given that there is not even mortar to hold the stones together ….

2. cantueso - July 12, 2010

Well, it would be nice if you wrote something about the Romans, since you are writing a book about Hannibal.

Since you have the professional know-how, you could tell the story of how the Romans had their poor back in Rome live in rickety skyscrapers that kept collapsing, a Pfuscherei for all to see, made of mud and sticks and stones.

3. trolley - October 28, 2011

@ Jimmy

Look, the sides of the tower are much less than 2 meters wide. Compare their width to the size of the men, those tall thin workers.


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