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City Of Letters

One of the jewels of Alcala is the Comedy Corral, Europe's oldest functioning stage. Especially beautiful is the stone floor, the well that is in the center, the balcony and private boxes. Those who occupied them could see the play without being seen. This was widely used by families who were in mourning and wanted to enjoy the theatre but to keep up appearances, or by the lords who came to the theatre with their lover. Backe then people could enjoy the special effects that were used, the storms and horses that allowed the viewer to live the scene with all its realism.

Plays that are shown here are similar to those years ago which came from the pen of Miguel de Cervantes. He was born in this city and this is his home, where he lived until he was 4. A place where we see a recreation that will help us to understand the society at the time, even with advanced elements which would have a use in the future. Located in the old Jewish quarter, where we can see a house divided into two floors with a central courtyard. In the downstairs section we access the rooms for public use, such as the doctor's office, we can't forget the father of Miguel de Cervantes, was a surgeon. The second floor was reserved for family use only with the original furniture of the era, such as braziers and cabinets. The latter contains a secret drawer that only the owner knew about and was used to store valuables. Finally, we say goodbye to “The Home of Cervantes Museum”, admiring the collection of Cervantes writings, where we find, among others, the 2nd edition of Don Quijote, published in Lisbon in 1506.

We continue walking to the Interpretative Center of the world of Cervantes, and in to Chapel of Listening, where we find a reconstruction of the font where Cervantes was baptized. A place where we can also see a copy of Cervntes' certificate of baptism.

The facade of the University is one of the hallmarks of Alcala de Henares. Rodrigo Gil de Hontañón created a spectacular Renaissance facade. Surrounded by a Franciscan cord, a symbol of Cardinal Cisneros who founded the University in 1499. Behind that are the university yards ... such as the patio Santo Tomas de Villanueva, a philosopher and linguist. These patios have witnessed teachings that formed illustrious students such as Calderon, Quevedo, Lope de Vega and Tirso de Molina. On or near April 23, the Royal Family enter the auditorium of the University of Alcala, and present the Cervantes Prize, the highest award of Spanish literature. A room proudly displaying some of the finest Spanish art. In this room students graduate, after many years of study. This auditorium is also now the Great Hall of the University of Alcalá.

Founded by Philip II the school was born as King's College for theological studies, legal and canonical, for children who were members of the royal family. Francisco de Quevedo, joined this school in 1596, after his mother was enrolled in the service of the Infanta Isabella Clara Eugenia. It now houses the Institute Cervantes.

We end our tour in the Plaza de Cervantes, formerly known as the Market Square. It is the heart of the City. The Plaza along with the rest of the historic center, the Mercado del Quijote, which comes alive during Cervantes Week, a festival held in October and declared of Regional Tourist Interest are all unmissable.

The City of Literature honors its most famous son with Cervantes Week, one of the best times of year to explore the city of Complutense.

The Quijote market is one of the largest of its kind in Europe and in Alcala allows the city for a few days to breathe the spirit of the sixteenth century.

Finally, the visit to the City of Literature, Arts and Letters, visitors can taste and buy typical local sweets such as costrada, donuts and sweet roasted almonds.