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Surroundings
Hotel El Bedel
Visit the “City of Knowledge”
If there is a city that can tell the history of Spain, it is Alcalá de Henares. From the Roman Complutum to the cultural effervescence of the Golden Age and the popularization of university education, the streets and buildings of Alcalá allow you to discover the different eras, cultures and relevant moments that have marked the development of Spain throughout of the centuries.

The second city of the Community of Madrid is also the birthplace of Miguel de Cervantes and its historic centre is a World Heritage Site, declared by UNESCO in 1998.

These characteristics, together with the historical importance of the University imagined by Cardinal Cisneros, makes Alcalá one of the most important cultural centres in the country, and that is why it receives the nickname of "City of Knowledge".
Complutum
The Romans built Complutum on an ancient Celtic settlement, attracted by its excellent position on the route to Mérida, on a fertile valley watered by the river Henares.

Today, the ruins of Complutum are a cultural interest site, where you can visit the old forum, the remains of many buildings and infrastructures that allow us to find out how life in the city developed.

It is worthy visiting the House of Hyppolitus, one of the few schools of young men documented in Roman times. Nowadays, this old villa holds a museum, preserving pieces in an excellent state, like the mosaic of the fish.
Cervantes birthplace
Undoubtedly, the most illustrious son of Alcalá de Henares is Miguel de Cervantes y Saavedra. The writer was born in 1547 in what is now the Calle Mayor, and he is universally known for his work "The ingenious hidalgo Don Quixote de La Mancha", considered the first modern novel.

Nowadays, the building in which Cervantes spent his first years of life is a museum and a library dedicated to his figure and his legacy, in which many exhibitions are exhibited and a wide variety of cultural activities take place. In addition, in his museum you can visit the rooms of the house, which was rebuilt in order to reflect the life and customs of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries in Spain.

The footprints of Cervantes in Alcalá can be visited following the Cervantes route, in which you will discover its baptismal font in the Chapel of the Oidor or the printing house of La Galatea, his first novel.
The University of Cisneros
The Renaissance brought to Alcalá its university and with it the cultural and demographic explosion that was a turning point for the development of the city.

Cardinal Cisneros imagined in Alcalá an ideal city made by and for the University, in which urban planning was focused on the schools to house students and the buildings dedicated to teaching and culture.

Some of the greatest Spanish writers, such as Antonio de Nebrija, Lope de Vega, Tirso de Molina or Calderón de la Barca studied at the University of Alcalá, turning the city into a great centre of culture and knowledge worldwide.

The Plateresque façade of the University, the San Ildefonso High School, the old minor colleges or the Hermitage of Christ of the Doctrines are some of the monuments that recall the greatest splendour of Alcalá.
Festivities and culture
Alcalá is still a culturally alive city, which has a wide range of music, theatre and popular festivals.

The Corral de Comedias, the oldest in Spain, offers a continuous theatrical program, with the added charm of the original architectural structures, such as the old cobbled courtyard, the stone columns and the famous gallinero or cazuela, the only place where the women could contemplate the plays.

Also, Alcalá has four more theatres and a large number of musical groups and cultural associations that offer numerous leisure alternatives for all tastes.

The most popular festivities in Alcalá are held the last week of August and its main attraction is the Gigantes and Cabezudos groups. Also highlight the Medieval Fair, one of the largest in Europe, the Gastronomic Week, the Festival de la Palabra or the Wine Fair.