Join us in this private acessible half day-tour to Alcala de Henares from Madrid. This tour is targeted for wheelchair users and people with limited mobility and their families. Alcala de Henares is the home town of Miguel de Cervantes (the writer of Don Quixote de la Mancha) and also a UNESCO World Heritage City that is closely tied to the history of the Spanish language.
Alcala de Henares, one of the most important cities in the history of Spain, is just 30km from Madrid. The Complutense University was founded here in 1499, and since then it has declared Spanish a language of culture. As a result, Alcala de Henares is now part of the “Path of the Spanish Language”, a route comprising all those places in Spain that have had a special influence on the Spanish language. Discover the birthplace of Miguel de Cervantes and the old Universidad Complutense.
Our private tour will take you to the most emblematic places such as the University and the Cervantes Birthplace-Museum, among other outstanding buildings.
9 am: Transfer from the hotel in Madrid to Alcala de Henares in our adapted minivan (45 mins drive).
The tour starts in the main college of the University.
College of San Ildefonso
This must visit building together with the historic quarter of Alcala de Henares, has been declared a World Heritage site by the UNESCO. It was created by Cardinal Cisneros and given the name of the college of San Ildefonso. The doorway is a fine example of the rich ornamentation of the purest Spanish Renaissance style. It was created by Cardinal Cisneros and given the name of College of San Ildefonso. This, along with Salamanca, was the birthplace of Humanism. Its construction began in the 15th century and was completed in the 16th. Only the assembly hall remains from the original building, with coffering and a Plateresque tribune. The façade is the most important part of the building. It has various courtyards in different styles, one of which is unfinished. The assembly room is one of the finest examples of the Cisneros style, combining Mudéjar features in plaster and wood with Plateresque decoration.
Cervantes Square is the former Market square of Alcala, where medieval people traded their products on market days. The square was also used as a bullring during fairs and festivals. It’s name comes from Miguel de Cervantes, one of the most important icons of Alcala. He was born in Alcala, in the old church of Santa María, whose ruins are next to this square (Oidor Chapel and tower of Santa Maria). In the center of the square, there is a sculpture of Cervantes.
Tourist Information Office
There is a Tourist Office in Cervantes Square, which is hidden in a small passage behind Oidor Chapel.
Corral de Comedias “Comedy Theather”
Since it opened to the public in 1602, the Corral underwent an identical process to other European theaters, which at that period were adapting themselves to modern times with structural reforms according to the performances shown and the customs of the public. Of its first period as a Corral de Comedias, belong the cobble-work of the patio, the tiers, the aposentos (private boxes for upper class patrons) and the cazuela (upper gallery for women only). In the 18th Century it was transformed into a neoclasic coliseum, roofed by means of a series of beams, which improved its acoustics, especially for musical events. In the 19th Century, its Romantic Age, endowed the seating courtyard with its typical horseshoe shape, covered with a ceiling made of plaster that was decorated with paintings. Eventually, at the beginning of the 20th Century, with cinematographic revolution, a film screen was also installed to turn the theater into a cinema and so it remained until the Seventies. Nowadays, this space is a live theater-museum which, hand by hand with the Regional Department for Culture and Sports and the Town Hall of Alcala de Henares, faces the 21st Century with the hope to keep on incorporating experiences to its four centuries of history.
Cervantes Birth Place
The building recreates the atmosphere in which one of the most important writers of universal literature grew up. It is located in the historic centre of Alcala de Henares, which has the UNESCO World Heritage designation. This was where Miguel de Cervantes, Saavedra, the author of the timeless novel ‘Don Quixote’, was born and spent his childhood. The period atmosphere of the house’s interior takes visitors back in time to the 16th and 17th centuries. The lower floor was the scene for the family’s day-to-day life and was divided into a work room, kitchen, dining room, ladies’ room and the surgeon’s office –the profession of Cervantes’ father. The upper floor was occupied by sitting rooms and bedrooms. It now houses an important collection of furniture, ceramics, and etchings and paintings from the period, as well as an important library collection.
Santos Niños Square
‘Santos Niños‘, are said to have been killed defending Christianity. Because of that, these children were considered saints. Years later, in the place where the assassination happened, a chapel was build to keep their remains. This chapel was lately rebuilt as the existing Cathedral Magistral of Santos Niños.
Gate of Madrid
The gate of Madrid was one of the entrance to the old city of Alcala, in the past protected by the wall that you can see next to the gate. This is the gate people used when they came from Madrid to Alcala. It is in front of the Gate of Alcala (which is in Madrid. In fact, both of them were connected by a road, by which you could walk straight from one gate to the other.
The Archbishop’s Palace of Alcala de Henares is now home to the Diocese of Alcala de Henares. It is located in the Plaza del Palacio and this form part of the monumental set declared World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The building set dates from 1209. Two thirds were destroyed as a result of a devastating fire in 1939, during the Spanish Civil War. Is preserved is what is left intact after the 1939 fire, the damaged parts were not restored. In this building came to reside different Castilian monarchs, were held synods and councils, and in here were born the youngest daughter of the Catholic Monarchs and future queen of England, Catherine of Aragon, and the German Emperor Ferdinand, son of Joanna ‘the Mad’. In addition, it is famous for being the place where was performed the first meeting between the Catholic Monarchs and Christopher Columbus.
Located in the former Madre de Dios Dominican Convent School, founded in the 17th century, the Alcalá de Henares Regional Archaeological Museum provides an educational review of the history of the region that makes up the Community of Madrid from prehistoric times to the present day.
13h. Transfer back to your hotel in Madrid (45 mins. drive)