Past Cities

Alcalá de Henares, Community of Madrid, Spain

Loading map...

Alcalá de Henares is a historic city located in the Community of Madrid, Spain. The city is situated in the central part of the country, about 35 km northeast of Madrid. Alcalá de Henares is famous for being the birthplace of the famous Spanish writer Miguel de Cervantes, author of the famous novel, Don Quixote.

The city has a rich history dating back to Roman times, when it was known as Complutum. The name Alcalá de Henares comes from the Arabic words al-qal'a, which means "fortress" or "castle," and henares, which refers to the river that runs through the city.

The city has a long and fascinating history, which has been shaped by its strategic location and the political and social environment of the region. The earliest recorded history of Alcalá de Henares dates back to the Roman period, when it was an important center of commerce and trade. During this time, the city was known as Complutum and was a major center of learning, with one of the first universities in Europe being founded here in the 16th century.

During the Middle Ages, Alcalá de Henares became an important center of Islamic culture, as it was under Muslim rule for several centuries. The city was conquered by the Christians in the 11th century, and it became part of the Kingdom of Castile. During this time, Alcalá de Henares underwent significant changes, as the Christian rulers rebuilt and expanded the city.

In the 16th century, Alcalá de Henares became a center of the Spanish Renaissance, with the establishment of the University of Alcalá. This period was marked by a flourishing of arts, literature, and science, with many famous figures associated with the city, including the writer Miguel de Cervantes.

During the 19th and 20th centuries, Alcalá de Henares underwent significant changes, as the city became more industrialized and modernized. The population of the city grew rapidly during this time, and it became a major center of industry, with factories producing textiles, ceramics, and other goods.

Today, Alcalá de Henares is a thriving city with a population of around 200,000 people. The city is known for its rich history and cultural heritage, and it attracts tourists from all over the world. The historic center of the city is a UNESCO World Heritage site, and it is home to many beautiful buildings and monuments, including the Cathedral of Alcalá de Henares, the Archbishop's Palace, and the Colegio de San Ildefonso.

Alcalá de Henares is a city with a rich and fascinating history, which has been shaped by its strategic location and the political and social environment of the region. From its Roman origins to its Islamic and Christian periods, and its Renaissance and industrial eras, the city has undergone significant changes over the centuries. Today, it is a vibrant and dynamic city that is proud of its cultural heritage and its contribution to Spanish history and culture.