Photo of University of Alcala de Henares

Visit University of Alcala de Henares

The University of Alcala de Henares is in the historic quarter of Alcala and together the university and historic quarter are a listed UNESCO World Heritage site.

University of Alcala de Henares

Spain This Way review: The facade of the Major college of the university is beautiful and inside it is free to visit several courtyards and the Great Hall. The university is a key site of the historic town.

University of Alcala de Henares

The university was founded in 1499 during the Renaissance and was known as the Complutense University. It was founded by Cardinal Jimenez de Cisneros and was the first ever planned university city.

It was the model for the "City of God", the design used by Spanish missionaries to create towns in the Americas. It was also the design for various universities in Europe and the Americas.

The Mayor college de San Ildefonso, the main college of the university, is made up of several buildings including the Saint Thomas of Villanueva Courtyard, the Philosophers Courtyard, the Assembly Hall and the Chapel of Saint Ildefonso.

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First of all admire the beautiful facade of the Mayor College which was built in the 16th century. Rodrigo Gil de Hontanon added a limestone facade to the brick building in the plateresque style.

Afterwards enter the striking Courtyard of Saint Thomas of Villanueva which was built in 1618 and has three storeys of arched galleys around the courtyard.

The Asssembly Hall is another key part of the university and it is here every year that the King of Spain presents the prestigious Cervantes Literature Prize to the winner.

Take a look at the beautiful wooden Mudejar ceiling with its pattern of hexagons and six-pointed stars.

When you have finished exploring the university has a museum of Ibero-American art which is free to visit and has some excellent artworks.

University of Alcala de Henares

Attractions to visit nearby

Alcala de Henares has a lot to see in its historic centre. The Plaza de Cervantes, the cathedral, the house where Miguel de Cervantes, author of Don Quixote, was born and the long arcaded Calle Mayor street are not to be missed when you are exploring.

There is also the Museum of Archaeology and Paleontology housed in the former Convent of the Mother of God.

The museum is free to enter and worth a visit if you have time after exploring Alcala.

The beautiful and vibrant city of Madrid is nearby and Alcala de Henares makes for a great outing from here if you are in Madrid for a few days.

You can find more local travel ideas in the Madrid guide, and the Madrid Province guide.

See also Find University of Alcala de Henares hotels

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Map of University of Alcala de Henares and places to visit

 
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University of Alcala de Henares places to visit

Alcala de Henares

Alcala de Henares

Alcala de Henares is one of the oldest university towns in Europe

Alcala de Henares guide
Museum of Archeology and Paleontology of Alcala de Henares

Museum of Archeology and Paleontology of Alcala de Henares

The Museum is free to visit and has some interesting exhibits.

Museum of Archeology and Paleontology of Alcala de Henares guide
Madrid

Madrid

Madrid is the beautiful capital of Spain with some of the world's best art museums.

Madrid guide
Aranjuez

Aranjuez

Aranjuez is home to the wonderful 18th century Palacio Real, the royal summer palace and its gardens.

Aranjuez guide
El Escorial

El Escorial

El Escorial is a huge UNESCO listed palace complex.

El Escorial guide
Royal Palace of La Granja de San Ildefonso

Royal Palace of La Granja de San Ildefonso

The Royal Palace is a stunning royal palace with superb formal gardens.

Royal Palace of La Granja de San Ildefonso guide
 
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