Spain in western Europe is one of our homeschool countries-of-the-week, so why not spend a few minutes today learning about one of Spain’s World Heritage Sites: the Old Town of Segovia and its Aqueduct.
Segovia’s two thousand year old aqueduct is one of the best-preserved examples of ancient Roman engineering:
The Old Town of Segovia is located in the centre of Spain, in the Autonomous Community of Castile and León. The centre is crowded together on the rocky bluff delineated by the confluence of the Eresma and Clamores rivers.
Segovia is symbolic of a complex, historical reality. Its neighbourhoods, streets, and houses are laid out in accordance with a social structure in which hierarchy was organized and dominated by belonging to one of the different cultural communities. Moors, Christians, and Jews coexisted for a long period of time in the medieval city and worked together during the 16th century manufacturing boom. The evidence of this cultural process can be seen in the large number of outstanding monuments in the city, among which, the Roman Aqueduct stands out. Other important monuments can be found in the property: the Alcázar, begun around the 11th century; several Romanesque churches; noble palaces from 15th and 16th centuries; the 16th-century Gothic cathedral, the last to be built in Spain in this style; and the Segovia Mint, the oldest industrial building still existing in Spain.
The Roman Aqueduct of Segovia, probably built c. 50 BC, is remarkably well preserved. This impressive construction, with its two tiers of arches, forms part of the magnificent setting of the historic city of Segovia. It is an enormous construction of masonry, 813 m in length, consisting of four straight segments and two superimposed arcades borne by 128 pillars. At the lowest point of the valley, the Aqueduct stands at a height of 28.5 m above ground.
The 221 colossal pillars bear witness to the magnitude of the Aquae Atilianae in the province of Zaragoza while in other parts of Spain, only remnants of the Roman aqueducts of Sevilla, Toledo, and Calahorra have survived. The impressive monuments that survive in Mérida, Tarragona, and Segovia illustrate the political determination, which following the steps of the victorious armies, greatly increased the number of aqueducts which Frontinus described as ‘the most solemn testimony of the Empire.’ (UNESCO World Heritage Centre #311)
You can find a gallery of additional photos of the Old Town of Segovia on the World Heritage Centre’s website.
World Heritage Sites are cultural or natural landmarks of international significance, selected for recognition by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization. More than 1000 such sites have been recognized in over 160 countries, and we feature one every Wednesday, drawn from one of our homeschool countries-of-the-week. You can find a complete list of World Heritage Sites online at the World Heritage Centre and in Wikipedia.
The World Heritage Centre also has a free and comprehensive World Heritage education kit for teachers, as well as a wonderful full-color wall map of World Heritage Sites, available for the cost of shipping. Why not add them both to your own homeschool library. 🗺
What world treasures will you be exploring in your homeschool this Hercules Term? 😊
❡ Books in the running brooks: You can always turn to your River Houses almanac, atlas, and history encyclopedia for more information about any of our countries-of-the-week. The almanac has profiles of all the nations of the world on pages 752–859; the endpapers of the atlas are indexes that will show you where all of the individual national and regional maps may be found; the history encyclopedia includes national histories on pages 489–599; and you can find additional illustrations, flags, and other mentions through the indexes in each of these volumes. For an ideal little lesson, just write the name of the Weekly World Heritage Site on your homeschool bulletin board, find its location in your atlas, read the WHC’s brief description aloud, look at a picture or two, and you’re done. Over the course of the year, without even realizing it, your students will absorb a wealth of new historical, geographical, and cultural information. 🇪🇸
❡ The great globe itself: This is one of our regular Homeschool States & Countries posts featuring historical and natural sites of international importance. Download a copy of our River Houses World Heritage Calendar and follow along with us as we tour the planet, and add your name to our weekly mailing list to get great homeschool teaching ideas delivered right to your mailbox all through the year. 🌍