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Segovia

Segovia, city (1990 pop. 55,188), capital of Segovia prov., central Spain, in Castile-León, on the Eresma River. It stands on a rocky hill (3,297 ft/1,005 m high) crowned by the cathedral and the turreted alcazar (fortified palace). Under the Moors, it was a flourishing textile center but has since declined. Agriculture is now the main industry, and tourism is important. Segovia is of ancient origin and was favored by the Romans, who built (probably 1st cent.) the aqueduct (c.900 yd/820 m long) that still carries water to the city; it is built of uncemented limestone blocks and is one of the greatest Roman monuments in Spain. The city was repeatedly taken and lost by the Moors from 714 until Alfonso VI conquered it in 1079. It was a favorite residence of the kings of Castile. Isabella I was proclaimed queen in the alcazar (begun in the 11th cent.; built mostly in the 15th cent.; restored in the 19th). The late Gothic cathedral (16th cent.) has a fine cloister. Of the many medieval churches and palaces, the Romanesque churches of San Martín and San Esteban are the most notable. Spain's artillery academy is in Segovia.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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