Fountains of La Granja de San Ildefonso

Fountains of La Granja de San Ildefonso
Fountains of La Granja de San Ildefonso

The Royal Palace of Granja de San Ildefonso in the province of Segovia was born with the vocation of being the Spanish Versailles. At least that is how the monarch Felipe V, responsible for its construction, conceived it. In fact, this king was the first of theBourbon dynastythat ruled inSpainand his grandfather had been the French Sun King, that is,Louis XIV. In other words, he had spent his childhood in the rooms and gardens of Versailles. That is why he wanted to build an enclosure here that would remind him of those happy years. And without a doubt, especially with regard to the gardens of La Granja de San Ildefonso, he achieved it, with a set of parterres, walkways, statues and fountains on a par with the best eighteenth-century gardens in Europe.


However, it must be said that Felipe V was aware that he would not achieve the grandeur of the French palace. And he didn't crave her as such either. The truth is that he did not seeLa Granjaas a space for the apparatus and to impress his rulers and the foreigners who visited him. He devised the Segovian palace as the site of his retirement. And in this, the gardens took on enormous importance.

To design them he hired the French architectRené Carlier. And although he died prematurely in 1722, by then he had already finished all his design, and even a large part of them were finished. And his work was continued by more artistsFrench. Both sculptors like René Fremin or Jean Thierry, as well as gardeners like Boutelou, all trained in the style of Louis XIV.

However, compared to the benchmark of Versalles, the area of ​​La Granja de San Ildefonso has a key advantage. And that is the abundance of water. So here the fountains could be spectacular. Not only because of their architectural and sculptural forms, but also because of the water games they allow.

It is more than remarkable the beauty of the figures made in lead, most of them with mythological themes. Some figures that were then painted with colors that imitate marble or bronze. But what is truly wonderful is the hydraulic system that supplies them. The network of canals and pipes of the time is still kept underground, and even its aquatic shows are carried out by manual actions.

The most outstanding fountains are La Selva which consists of a representation of the Roman gods Pomona and Vertumno. There are also those dedicated to the Diana's Baths and to Neptune which is called the Horse Race. Or it is worth seeing the Canastillo, the Las Ranas, the eight fountains located in the square called the Eight Streets. And one of the most spectacular is that of La Fama, where the water is launched at a height of more than 40 meters, and this without resorting to any motor or electrical system. Simply by the force of gravity and the push of thewater.

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