Alcalá de Henares, Spain

Alcala de Heneres, Spain - Mudejar architecture

Alcalá de Henares, Spain

“Pray look better, Sir… those things yonder are no giants, but windmills.” – Don Miguel de Cervantes

In this case, ‘those things yonder’ happen to be ornately decorated towers in Mudejar (Moorish) style. Said pinnacles adorn the town of Alcalá de Henares, birthplace of famous Spanish writer, Miguel de Cervantes (author of Don Quixote) and today a place of pilgrimage by literary, history, cultural and architecture nerds alike. A UNESCO heritage site, it was the only Roman town in the Madrid region, even attaining “Municipium” status. Conquered and rebuilt and reconquered and rebuilt again means that Alcalá’s (literally ‘citadel in Arabic) architecture is a hodgepodge of various styles, cultures and epoques; even the site of the city moved back and forth a few times. Most notably was the Moorish conquest, as they left the most visible footprint on the city, the impressive Mudejar architectural style seen here. Cervantes was born here, and although his family moved away during his childhood, the city still reveres him, hosting the Cervantes Festival every October. Even more impressively, each April 23rd, the King of Spain awards the prestigious Cervantes Award for literature at Alcalá’s esteemed University of Alcalá.


Pro tip: Get to Alcalá de Heneres by commuter train (40 min) from Madrid stations Atocha or Chamartin , if you buy tickets from the machine. Madrid stations aren’t always manned, and buying tickets can be complicated, so be sure you leave extra time to buy tickets 


Visit More Stunning Places in Spain
  1. Aranjuez Palace, Madrid Communidad
  2. Toledo, south of Madrid
  3. Segovia, north of Madrid
  4. Ronda, Andalucia
  5. Teruel, near Valencia
  6. Bilbao, Basque Country
  7. Castillo Xativa, Valenciana Communidad

 

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