Aquaduct

Anne-Marie Bokslag

Haarlem, Netherlands

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The Aqueduct of Segovia (or more precisely, the aqueduct bridge) is one of the most significant and best-preserved monuments left by the Romans. As it lacks a legible inscription the date of construction cannot be definitively determined. Researchers have placed it between the second half of the 1st Century AD and the early years of the 2nd Century. The beginnings of Segovia itself are likewise not definitively known.

The aqueduct transports waters from Spring Fuenfría, situated in the nearby mountains some 17 kilometers (10.6 miles) from the city. It runs another 15 kilometers (9.3 miles) before arriving in the city. The water is first gathered in a tank known as El Caserón (or Big House), and is then led through a channel to a second tower known as the Casa de Aguas (or Waterhouse). There it is naturally decanted and sand settles out before the water continues its route. Next the water travels 728 meters (.45 miles) on a one-percent grade until it is high upon the Postigo, a rocky outcropping on which the old city center, the Segovia Alcázar, was built. Then, at Plaza de Díaz Sanz (Díaz Sanz Square), the structure makes an abrupt turn and heads toward Plaza Azoguejo (Azoguejo Square). It is there the monument begins to display its full splendor. At its tallest, the aqueduct reaches a height of 28.5 meters (93.5 feet), including nearly 6 meters (19.7 feet) of foundation. There are both single and double arches supported by pillars. From the point the aqueduct enters the city until it reaches Plaza de Díaz Sanz, it boasts 75 single arches and 44 double arches (or 88 arches when counted individually), followed by four single arches, totaling 167 arches in all.
The aqueduct is built of unmortared, brick-like granite blocks. The first section of the aqueduct contains 36 pointed arches. On the upper level, the arches have a total width of 5.1 meters (16.1 feet). Built in two levels, the top pillars are both shorter and narrower than those on the lower level. The top of the structure contains the channel through which water travels, through a U-shaped hollow measuring 1.8 by 1.5 meters (5.9 by 4.9 feet). The lower-level arches have an approximate width of 4.5 meters (14.8 feet). Their pillars gradually increase in circumference size. The top of each pillar has a cross-section measuring 1.8 by 2.5 meters (5.9 by 8.2 feet), while the base cross-section measures approximately 2.4 by 3 meters (7.9 by 9.8 feet).

Artwork Comments

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