Alcalá has history oozing out of each of its cobblestoned streets. It is only a 25 minute train ride from Madrid and is worth an in-depth visit.
Alcalá was never famous for being near Madrid, in its day it was much more important than Madrid. Alcalá has an entire history to be explored while Madrid was still a village of non-importance. It wasn’t until Philip II moved the court to Madrid in 1561 that Madrid started to take on importance and finally overshadow Alcalá.
In Alcalá you can immerse yourself in Roman ruins and history, skip into Arabic culture, then learn about Spain in the middle ages when Cardinal Cisneros had a vision of setting up Alcalá as a prominent university education centre that rivalled all others in Europe. You can see where Christopher Columbus met with Queen Isabella to discuss his jaunt across the pond in search of wealth and glory, and learn about literary greats and other famous Spanish minds who studied in Alcalá and helped shape Spain and the Spanish language.
The beauty of Alcalá is almost everything there is to see and explore is within a relatively small area, so it can easily be covered on foot in a short period of time.
What you will see:
University of Alcalá
Calle Mayor which is the longest Portico in Spain
Jewish section of Alcalá
Corral de comedias
Birth house of Cervantes (includes tour inside his house)
See the oldest hospital in Europe
Archbishop's palace (Where Christopher Columbus met with Queen Isabella I)
Optional— either Roman Casa Hippolytus (a Roman school) or Loredo museum which houses the Polyglot Bible.
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