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Alcalá de Henares: a university tradition

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www: Alcalá de henares council page
www: Alcalá Henares university

Alcalá de Henares' historical importance is derived primarily from the university founded there in the late 13th century by Cardinal Cisneros, under the reign of queen Isabel the Catholic. Named the Complutense after the Roman name for the town Complutum, in its day it was one of the most important universities in the world, producing the famous polyglot bible, an example of which can be seen in the casa consistorial (town hall). The university moved to Madrid (see Universidad Complutense de Madrid) in 1836 where its student population is now one of the largest in the world. A new university opened in Alcalá de Henares 1977.

Another of Alcalá de Henares' claims-to-fame stems from its being the birth place of Miguel Cervantes, author of Don Quijote, the most celebrated novel in the Spanish language. Some rare editions of Don Quijote can be seen in the casa consistorial (town hall).

The main sites to visit in Alcalá de Henares are the old university with its famous renaissance façade and the buildings of the old Colegios Mayores (students' residences). A simple afternoon or evening walk along the calle Mayor is one of the most enjoyable way to pass time here.

Alcalá de Henares can be reached by the Cercanías trains on lines C2 and C7, with several departures every hour from Atocha railway station. Buses leave from Continental Auto. To get there by car one should take the N-II (direction Barcelona).