Archive for May 28th, 2018

May 28, 2018

Cathedral at Alcalà de Henares!

Remembering the places where we have been gosh they are so many all over, searching is not easy and memories abound doing so with my dear late wife Martine. We really like this town coming back repeated times, and me way before since childhood.  I introduce her to these wonderful places and she came  to love them too.  Let me tell you, about Alcalà de Henares and especially the Cathedral.

The place is famous for the Cervantes house and museum and especially the University, but to us the Cathedral was more impacting and the bars/restos around it were sublime ,never to forget.

Alcala de Henares has the Cathedral or Catedral Magistral de los Santos Justo y Pastor, children martyrs of the faith. This was a great Church and wonderful bell tower that you climb 140 steps right from the spot where the children Justo and Pastor were massacred and became Saint Justos and Saint Pastor. It offers a spectacular view of the city after climbing the helicoidally staircase.  You will see wonderful chapels and the tomb of Cardinal Cisneros that together with Queen Isabel I the Catholic were instrumental in Columbus discovery of new lands  in America.  The cloister also has a nice collection of statues and stones found in the area.More info here:

The Gothic Church Magistral is raised to Cathedral Magistral of Santo Justo y Santo Pastor (the boys).  It is dedicated to Maria Magdalena and it is Magistral since all its priests are doctors in Theology only one of two which is Magistral (the other is St Peter in Louven Belgium). It was built in 1514 in a isabeline gothic style.  The story goes that in Roman Hispania there was a period of great persecution of Christians under the government of emperor Diocletian (284-305AD) ; during this period happened the martyrdom of the Saints Justo and Pastor, boys of 7 and 9 years old executed in 304AD outside of Alcalà de Henares for their refusal to refuse Christianism.

The Cathedral outside is simple and austere, while inside it is divided into three naves call Centro, Evangelic, and Epistolary. In the Centro nerf you will find the urn of silver and gold in a crypt where the remains of the boys Saints are kept and a stone where they were martyred. These relics were transferred to Huesca and then to France to avoid destruction by the Arab/moors.

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The walls onn the exterior are covered with Segovian lettering and you look at the front gate of a gothic style with a central medallion representing Saint Ildefonso, and the high tower in the renaissance style at 62 meters high, on top there is nice chapter in the Herediano style.  It has a Cloister of the 17C with arcs and pillars, the floors are covered with renaissance carpets coming from different convents in the city. From the cloister you go to the  Sala Capitular (capitulary room) and the old library.

The interior the Church is divided in three nerfs covered with vaults on top of pillars. The Church looks like a traditional Latin cross with a transept. It lost quite a bit during the Spanish Civil War with many works of arts and historical objects. On top of its religious duties the Church Cathedral houses a center for the interpretations and a museum. The Central nerf rises over the lateral nerfs without a main altar on a gothic style and portraits showing the passion of Christ. In the presbytery you see a table given by Pope Sixtus V to king Felipe II The space is preceded by the image of the Virgen of Cisneros and enclosed by a wrough iron gate that survived the fire of 1936. On the girola or dome like you see the Crypt of the Saints Justo and Pastor where an urn is preserve with silver and gold lining (1702), where the remains of the Saints and the stone on which they were martyrize are kept.

The nerf of Epistolary is located where the most important Chapels and the parish of St Peter. This later one built in 1622; showing a gate in granite Stone in the Herediano style and a Baroque interior with a half orange dome. The Chapel of the Virgin of the Valley is the Patron Saint of Alcalà de Henares. It has a half point arc entrance venerating inside the incorrupt corp of San Diego de Alcalà that is shown to the faithful every November 13 day of the Saint. From the eleven Chapels that originally counted the Cathedral only five remain as well as the sides of other six painted on the wall meaning a missing space. After the Church was elevated to Cathedral important excavation work was done and burials of the 16C, 17C and 18C were found.

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There is a nice Museo Diocesano or Diocese Museum opened in 1997 showing a monographic portrayal of the boy Saints Justo and Pastor as well as the sepulcher of Archbishop Carrillo in addition to showing the Treasury that includes objects of jewelry, paintings, arts, and liturgical costumes.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here to this wonderful town of Madrid!

Offiicial webpage of the Cathedral in Spanish:

Alcala de Henares desde sus Torres (from its towers ) youtube video in Spanish :

Tourist office of Alcalà de Henares in English:

City of Alcala de Henares tourist info in Spanish:

There you go ,I hope you like it as we did, it is the real deal in my beloved Spain indeed. Always remember, happy travels, good health ,and many cheers to all!!

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