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The Segovia Alcazar (castle-palace) boldly sits on a steep outcropping overlooking Segovia town, the bucolic countryside, and distant mountains.
The Segovia Alcazar dates back to the 11th century. The building we see today is a reasonably faithful replacement of its 16th century predecessor, which was severely fire-damaged in 1862. This castle-palace is more than meets the eye. Long ago workers carved a sprawling underground network of rooms and passageways. At least one tunnel reaches the heart of the town (and it's likely that more awaits discovery).
The Segovia Alcazar was the royal home and seat of many Castilian kings and queens during medieval times. One of them, Queen Isabella, was holding court when she told Columbus the good news that she would underwrite his 1492 discovery voyage of America.
No doubt the Segovia Alcazar's design influenced the design of the fairytale-like Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany, which in turn influenced Walt Disney's theme-park castles.
The town is a popular daytrip from Madrid (one hour away by road) and offers more than just the Alcazar. Be sure to also see the Aqueduct (a Hillman Wonder medal winner) and the town's 16th century cathedral (almost a medal winner).
Location in Spain