Legend of Segovia's Aqueduct
The Legend of the Segovia’s Aqueduct
At the entrance of the historic city of Segovia stands the splendid Roman aqueduct that was built at the end of the first century AD. In 1985 the aqueduct was declared World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
The aqueduct is under the influence of mythical stories thanks to the legends that have been told about its construction. One of them says that it was built by the Atlantean civilization, which disappeared thousands of years before the birth of Christ and was those whom Plato referred to when he spoke of the myth of Atlantis.
Undoubtedly the best known legend identifies the author of this piece of engineering with the devil. Legend says that every day, a young maid who served in the mansion of a wealthy local man, had to carry fresh river water for her master. This work was very tiresome because of the distance and the weight of the water, and the maid wasted time in doing it.
One day the maid was so tired that she fainted and fell to the floor leaving her task undone, it was then when, plunged into deep despair, she called the devil and made him an offer that could hardly be rejected: the devil could take her soul in exchange for a solution to her problem before dawn. Satan gladly accepted the pact.
That night a bolt of lightning woke the maid up and she saw thousands of demons building the aqueduct. She did penance and prayed to avoid fulfilling the pact. There was only one stone left to complete the work when a cockerel crowed and the first rays of sunlight announced the devil’s failure. Then, the maid went to a near church and made a detailed confession. The priest, totally convinced that what happened was a miracle, ordered that a statue of the Virgin and Saint Stephen were placed in the hollow left by the aqueduct unplaced stone.
There have been many hotels and gourmet restaurants in Segovia that have used this legend as a tourist attraction as a means of increasing visitor numbers.