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Roman Aqueduct 
Segovia, Spain

Begun in the 1st century AD under Emperor Domitian and probably completed under Trajan in the early 2nd century, the aqueduct brought water to Segovia from the Frío River 10 miles away. The aqueduct cuts right through the center of town. Its symbol has served as the mintmark on all coins struck in Segovia for over 400 years.

 Some of the arches in the center of the aqueduct were destroyed during the Muslim conquest of the 9th century, but they were restored in the 15th century during the reign of the King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella.

In the center a dip in the terrain necessitated two tiers of arches.

During the Roman era, each of the three tallest arches displayed a sign in bronze letters, indicating the name of its builder along with the date of construction. Today, two niches are still visible, one on each side of the aqueduct. One of them is known to have held the image of Hercules, who according to legend was founder of the city.

The other niche now contains the images of the Virgen de la Fuencisla (the Patroness of Segovia) and Saint Stephen.

The visible part of the great structure consists of 800 meters of granite blocks, 166 arches, 120 pillars.

One of the best-preserved Roman engineering works, it was built of some 24,000 dark-colored Guadarrama granite blocks without the use of mortar or clamps.  Instead, the stones were precisely cut to transmit and bear the load in a perfect equilibrium. 

Photos and their arrangement © 2009 Chuck LaChiusa
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