SAN ANTONIO EL REAL

It is, without a doubt, one of the most stunning buildings in town, as well as one of the most scarcely known. We are talking of the Monastery of San Antonio el Real, located at avenida de Padre Claret, just where the aerial path of the aqueduct begins.

Built by the so called “Segovian king”, Enrique the 4th of Castile, half-brother of Isabella (the Catholic Queen) and a key figure of the history of this town, it was conceived as the convent where the Franciscan brothers would live until the time, after the king’s passing, that his sister Isabella would donate it to the Poor Clares, hence relocating the male Franciscans in the convent of Saint Francis (the Academy of Artillery these days).

This is an extremely beautiful monastery with a number of mudejar coffered ceilings dating back from the 15th century and miraculously almost intact.

A good portion of the building is used today as a hotel bearing the same name, amongst the most popular ones in town.

The convent is open to the public and it is well worth it paying a visit; the timetables are from Tuesday afternoon from 16:00 to 18:30, Wednesday to Saturday from 10:00 to 14:00 and from 16:00 to 18:30 to Sunday morning from 10:45 to 14:00. Entry fee is 2 euros per person, 1.50 euros por groups over 20 people and free for children under 12, disabled and unemployed people.

Picture taken from the website of the hotel http://www.sanantonioelreal.es

TOUR WITH ESCUELA HABLA

Don’t miss out, the 25th of this month, this joint tour of Castellum and Escuela Habla,  held at the Museo Gastronomico de Segovia. You will get to try the tasty judiones de la Granja and will learn some interesting facts. The price of the tour is 15 euros per person and it includes the entry fee and tour around the Museo Gastronomico, an informative session on the judiones (large beans typical from this area) with the person who is responsible for the brand, specific language support and a full menu also including bread, wine and a special dessert. Just as well really, it is so cold lately that we could not think of a better plan for a Sunday morning, from 12:30 pm onwards. Limited tickets so book your space quick!

THE SNOW AND THE STORM

This week everybody in Segovia is talking about the weather, and the snow of course, tons of it. In fact many of us (including myself) had never seen anything like this before, with roof tops near collapsing under the weight of the snow. The fire brigade was out yesterday doing all sorts of job related to this ice and snow storm. However, we have decided to show you what the Alcazar looks like at times like this, beautiful isn’t it? The locals, especially those over 70 say that this was the usual thing in winter many years ago but it is also true that the last time Segovia was so deeply covered in snow was about 20 years back.

The forecast says that it will possibly carry on snowing all the way until the weekend (at least) so please try to understand if you do book a tour with us this weekend and we have to finally cancel should the roads be full of ice (we are reaching -7 and -8 temperatures) or a heavy snow storm. All those booking tours these days will receive an informative mail with the latest information based on the national forecast agency (AEMET) and whether or not the tour can take place. This is our job and we are really looking forward to going back to normal. In the meantime, why not going back to childhood days and enjoy a ride sledging down the aqueduct or making a snowman??

“Segovia en estampas. Estampas de Segovia”.

The exhibition “Segovia en estampas.  Estampas de Segovia” starts today, the 18th of January at 8 pm in the Salas del Palacio at the Torreon de Lozoya.

It contains over 140 pictures of both the town and the province spanning from the 16th to the 19th century. The exhibition is sponsored by the Fundacion Caja Segovia together with the Diputacion Provincial de Segovia.

Yet another similar exhibition called “Imágenes de Segovia en las Artes de la Estampa” already took place in 2004, also held in the same lounge; it brought to light an important part of the collection belonging to Caja Segovia. The one launched today shows, as well as some pieces displayed at that time, another works never shown before in our town. These artistic draws, both pictures and books, shed light on visions of monuments, some of them no longer in place, works on the Aqueduct and the Cathedral of Segovia and the famous castle of Coca, amongst others, urban and rural landscaping by artists like David Roberts, Genaro Pérez Villaamil, Gustavo Doré o Vicente López. Until the 1st of May at the Torreon de Lozoya. More info at www.fundacioncajasegovia.es

What to do in Segovia this long Bank Holiday weekend?

We do know that quite a few of you will be spending this huge Bank Holiday weekend in Segovia. We are actually sold out for the 7th, 8th and 9th of December and we are glad you don’t fear the cold weather. Besides coming to our tours we have some suggestions for you spare time, this is two different markets you should pay a visit to.

One of them is the Christmas Market starting today until the 9th at the Torreon de Lozoya, organised by the Spanish Association Against Cancer right in the town centre, at Saint Martin’s Square. The other one is the Mercado del Marquesado in the Colegio de Arquitectos (calle Marqués del Arco número 5), an open space for designers and artisans to find many special ideas for gifts or simply to have a wander round.

 

MUCES 2017

The European Film Festival MUCES will be held in Segovia from the 15th to the 21st of November. This year we would recommend the “Filmed in Segovia” section. For more info, please see the following link: http://www.muces.es/index.php

Halloween night

Tomorrow night, at midnight, we will celebrate Halloween. This is a very short-lived tradition in Spain since we used to have our very All Souls Night. It is a very special night, full of mystery and magic, where the souls of the dead come back to spend a short time with the living. Everybody celebrates Halloween these days and there are so many different parties where people dress up, but if you want to live a terrifying Halloween night book a tour tomorrow night from eight pm with Sonia and the girls of Escuela Habla to hear, first hand, all those legends and ghost stories. It will surely be dead terrific!!

Segovia and the Saint Patron

On the 25th of the current we shall be celebrating our Saint Patron festivity. His name is Saint Frutos (yes, like the fruits you eat) and, just like every other year, the miracle will take place and the saint will turn yet another page of his Book of the Apocalypse that gets us nearer the end of days every year.

Regardless whether or not you are a pious human being, the night of Saint Frutos is a fantastic opportunity to fill yourself with the local spirit and folk and also to have a few drinks with your friends and relatives. Just after midnight, locals will start to clear off the Main Square on their way home with a grin in their faces and perhaps feeling a little tipsy.

We will come back next week to talk about Spanish Halloween; if you want to get to know about local ghosts and legends, do not miss the opportunity to join the last Legends of Segovia tour this 2017on the 31st of October!

Illustration of Saint Frutos by Mónica Carretero.

Sports Museum. Until the 29th of October.

Segovia is ideal to do sports; actually a lot of locals as well as visitors can be spotted jogging, skating and cycling around the green belt surrounding the Old Town. Every time you take a stroll up the calle Real you are doing sport although you do not realise you are… Our splendid winner of the 1988 edition of the Tour de France started his career in this his hometown Segovia. This, along with a thousand more stories, is the reason why you cannot miss the exhibition about sports at the Torreon de Lozoya, Plaza de San Martín s/n. Tickets are free with a controlled access.

The Convent of Santo Domingo el Real

It is, without a doubt, one of the most ancient civil buildings in the town of Segovia, and a great number of historians have shown keen interest in it. It is no other than the Convent of Santo Domingo el Real, located right in the town centre opposite the Romanesque church of the Trinidad.

The building belongs to the order founded by Saint Domingo de Guzman. This famous clergyman used to pray, when he was in Segovia, in a cave close to the Eresma River where the Santa Cruz convent would be later built (we already wrote about this one). Concerning the feminine branch of the order it looks like implementation in Segovia was quite early relating to privileges granted to the order by several kings, renewed from one to the next and that would start originally in the 14th century according to Professor Antonio Ruiz Hernando.

It looks like this construction was, at the time it was purchased by the Dominican nuns, the property of local authority Juan Arias de la Hoz. From the start the property, basically the Tower of Hercules and the old palace, was too small and so it became necessary to purchase several adjacent buildings. The construction is basically made with mason stone with 8 metres  high walls with some interesting slit-arrow, living proof of the defensive purposes the fortress-house fulfilled some centuries ago. Entrance to the church is done with limestone block and we can still see half a Romanesque arch later absorbed by a more modern construction.

Another unusual construction belonging to the ensemble is the Tower of Hercules, also unusual the statue inside, away from the public eyes. It was described in the 17th century by local writer Diego de Colmenares, probably telling the story from the words of a nun. The statue shows a man riding a pig or a wild boar. This human figure has always been portrayed as Egyptian Hercules, allegedly the founder of the town and always according to the legend. However, this legend was considered by all to be outright true for many years, including some prestigious local writers, such as Colmenares himself.

Finally it is worth mentioning the paintings in the second floor of the palace, very similar to the ones we can see at the Alcazar, done in white and a burgundy shade of colour by mudejar artists around the 12th – 13th century in Romanesque-Mudejar style; these are considered an artistic treasure of great importance.