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Home»Microsites»The Acueduct of Segovia»Construction

Construction

How it was built

To build the Aqueduct, the Romans used strong scaffolds to support the falsework, upon which the keystones of the arches were fitted, which had to be perfectly wedge-shaped in order to exercise sufficient pressure.

It was necessary to bore two holes at the end of each granite ashlar, which are still visible today, as these were raised using large metal pincers. These were closed by pulling upwards and pressure was maintained with the weight of the stones themselves.

On the scaffolding, another group of builders handled the correct positioning of the stones, adjusting the ashlars with levers. Finally, on site, the quarrymen would engrave each stone with their insignia.

The marks, which can be seen today from the Roman construction, are from maneuvering, chiselling and bossage; those from maneuvering are the slots on the upper and lower edges. These were produced by the iron levers allowing the blocks to be adjusted into their final position. The chisel marks form vertical grooves on the blocks which shape the ends of the pillars and the bossage marks were produced by the rustic work on the vertical edges.

The Aqueduct is wider at the lower part, becoming narrower as it gains height. This is an ingenious solution which allows it to support its own weight.

The blocks are joined without mortar, cement or lead using the Opus Quadratum method. The blocks are bound together due to the ingenious equilibrium of forces.

Sections

The Aqueduct was historically divided into three distinct stretches:
- The outer stretch where the water was collected and began its course to the town.
- The peri-urban stretch for channelling water.
- The urban stretch for channelling and distributing water, consisting of the elevated, monumental part and underground channel.

Water is collected at a weir on the Frío River, in the Acebeda Valley. It runs downwards through a number of local beauty spots to reach Segovia. Before running along the elevated channel, the water passes through two cleaning basins. It enters the walled city at the Postigo del Consuelo [Consolation Wicket Gate], and is distributed along a sophisticated system of chambers, which would, in turn, subdivide to supply fountains and tanks in private dwellings. All of this final stretch was underground until reaching the present-day Alcázar [Fortress], the end of the cannel which was known as Madre del Agua [Mother of Water].

 

 

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