Alcalá de Henares is so important partly for its historic monuments and places. But 9 Spanish National Monuments stand out. This is the list of some of the monuments and enclaves in Alcalá:

Hippolytus' House. Museum that was the School of Young people of ancient Complutum, vestige of Alcalá de Henares. The fact that it became a museun was pioneer in the Madrid Region. There people learn different aspects and information about Roman life and Empire.

Castle of Alcalá la Vieja. Ramshackle monument of X century, placed near the Ecce Homo hill, in the district of the city. There only a restored, defensive tower and ramshackle large fortified towers survives. Near it's the hermitage of Nuestra Señora del Val.

University of Alcalá de Henares (UAH). The Cisneros' University was founded in 1499 by Cardinal Francisco Jiménez de Cisneros. During the XVI, XVII and XVIII centuries it belonged to Alcalá and was a great academic excellence centre. In 1836 it was moved to Madrid to became Central University of Madrid, that was later the Complutense University of Madrid. Time went by and the ancient University returned to Alcalá. Currently, the university activity is divided in buildings that were ancient schools and now have got faculties that form the city campus. Some of them are located in the exterior universitary campus. In the city campus are the Economics, Law, Documentation and Philosophy faculties. In the exterior universitary campus are the Biology, Ambient Sciences, Pharmacy, Medicine and Chemistry. The Superior Polytechnic, Superior Technology and Geodesy; Information Technology and Nursing and Physical therapy Schools. It's one of the most complete universities in Madrid and Spain. UAH web page.

Hospital of Antezana. Colloquialy called "El Hospitalillo", it was created in 1483 and it is the most ancient hospital in Europe on active service from its foundation. Rodrigo de Cervantes worked here, and Ignacio de Loyola was too. Her Majesty Sofía de Grecia is honour president of the organization. Currently, the old people that is there is looked after by Mensajeros de la Paz ONG.  

Miguel de Cervantes' Home Museum. After the investigations of Luis Astrana Marín, in 1948 it is discovered as Cervantes' Home the ruins of a house nearby the Hospital of Antezana. Cervantes stayed here from its birth in 1547 to 1551, when he moved to Valladolid, where he got a new famous house. The owner of the house was  Cervantes' auntie, Mary. Nowadays is restored, but it keeps the Castilian features from that time and original elements of the Cervantes' era. Tourists can find information about Miguel de Cervantes, his works and Don Quijote manuscripts from the Cervantes Age. Admission free. Web of the Museum.

Saint, Magisterial Church-Cathedral "Saint Children Justo and Pastor". Great Cathedral of Alcalá de Henares, with late-Gothic style. Important both the high tower and Renaissance cloister with Herrera appearance. It's the only religious temple in the world, except Collegiale Sint-Pieterskerk (Belgium) that has got the  "Magisterial" title. Here rests Cardinal Cisneros.

Corral de Comedias de Alcalá. Similar to the one in Almagro but with the eternal special touch of Alcalá, that building was built in 1601 by the carpinter Francisco Sánchez. It is the most ancient corral de comedias in the world that survives. But its curious history and its uses left a mark in it. Around 1769 the Corral became a neoclassical coliseum with the characteristic ceiling. During XIX century became a romantic theatre. From XX century the Corral de Comedias was used as a cinema to 1960s. From that date, with the appearance of other theatres, it fell into oblivion. Thanks to students Miguel Ángel Coso Marín, Mercedes Higuera Sánchez Pardo and Juan Sanz Ballestero investigation, the theatre kept as initialy and was reformed. The Community of Madrid kept it. Nowadays it is very important in Spain and it has a lot of uses: Spanish theatre museum, any age theatres, music shows, etc. For more information, visit the Corral de Comedias web.

Puerta de Madrid. With the memory of the famous Puerta de Alcalá in Madrid, the Cervantes' city has also an important monument similar to it. Puerta de Madrid is about XVIII century. It's built by the order of the Archbishop ofToledo, with architect Antonio Juana Jordán. As a curious thing, both it and the wall were scene of the film Espartaco (1960), by Stanley Kubrick.

Real Botanic Garden Juan Carlos I. At the beginning of XXI century, Alcalá received the privilege of a great and amazing botanic garden thanks to University of Alcalá and the Community of Madrid. It is member of the Asociación ibero-macaronésica de Jardines Botánicos and the BGCI, and it presents investigation works to Interrnational Agenda for Botanic Gardens in conservaition. Web of the Botanic Garden.

Festivities and traditions 

Saint Antón. It's celebrated each year in January 17th in the Hospital of Antezana, where hundreds of people go to bless their pets.

Gastronomic Week. The first week in February.

Carnival and the "burial of the sardine". Festival celebrated at the end of February. Its importance increases in time.

Holy Week. Declared in 2004 as Regional Tourist Interest Festival, it is the best one in the Community of Madrid. More than 100.000 people come here each year, both people of the city and visitors. Some sisterhoods are: the "Triunfal Jesus Entry in Jerusalem Sisterhood", the "Saint Burial Sisterhood" or the "Saint Mary of the crowned loneliness Sisterhood".

April of Cervantes. Regional Tourist Interest Festival where illustrious Miguel de Cervantes' death is remembered. Some events in honour of Cervantes take place, like the Book Fair, the literarature Cervantes Award presentation for the Spanish Kings in the auditorium of Cisneros, etc.

"Clásicos en Alcalá" Theatre Festival. Between Juny and July Alcalá becomes the theatre capital in its region with the representation of antiquity and current situation drama works. One of the most important festivals in its Region. "Clásicos en Alcalá" web.

 Saint Children Justo and Pastor Patrons Festivities. In August 6th begin the first patrons festivities in the year in Alcalá, in honour a its patron saints.

Fair of Alcalá. "About sain Bartolomé's day", at the end of August, the fair as old as XII century takes place.

Virgen del Val Patrons Festivities. For the third Sunday in September Alcalá honours its other patron saint, the Virgen del Val.

Cervantes Gastronomy Days. At the end of September.

Cervantes Days. Regional Tourist Interest Festival. From October 9th there are festivals in honour of the baptism of Cervantes.

"Alcine" Cinema Festival. In November, it is the most famous one in Spain talking about short-films. Festival web.

"Don Juan en Alcalá". Regional Tourist Interest Festival. Representation of José Zorrilla's work from October 31st to November 1st.  

Alcalá as World Heritage aniversary. In December 2nd, by festivals and commemorations, this historic event of Alcalá is remembered.


The city has a lot of restaurants specialized in the Comarca de Alcalá, where Iberian food, sheep cheese and products made in La Mancha, the land of Don Quijote. So important are also its gastronomic weeks and fairs. The typical gastronomy in Alcalá includes its lamb and its sweets, like almendras garrapiñadas, chocolate fried breadcrumbs, the costrada de Alcalá, the ring doughnouts of Alcalá, the "penitents" and the Cervantes little sins.


For more information:

Alcalá Tourism and Cervantes Train


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