Universidad de Alcalà de Henares!

I like to update this older post from a wonderful town and a great historical university of Spain! We love the history and architecture of it in great Alcalà de Henares! Hope you enjoy the tour!

Coming back at your with another historical gem of my beloved Spain. This one can be arranged to be visit , a higher learning institution way back but of great historical, cultural and architectural value for any lover of it and travels. I have just touch base on it but need to tell you more.  I will tell you a bit more on the Universidad de Alcalà de Henares university in the city of Alcalà de Hénares, Comunidad de Madrid region.


On May 20, 1293, King Sancho IV of Castilla  granted a licence to Archbishop of Toledo, García Gudiel  to create a Studium Generale (General Survey, as they were then called University studies) in Alcalá de Henares. On July 17, 1459 Pope Pius II granted a bull, requested by Archbishop Alonso Carrillo de Acuña, “for the erection of three chairs of arts and grammar in this Alcalá study.” These last chairs, survived of that general study of the 13C, were integrated by Cardinal Cisneros in the new University. Cardinal Cisneros , who had been a student of the general survey, created from this the Complutensis Universitas  or Complutense University or Alcalá or Cisneriana  through three pontifical papal bulls granted by Pope Alexander VI on April 13th,1499.

The University of Alcalá, Universidad Complutense or Universidad Cisneriana was the university that existed in  Alcalá de Henares. Founded in 1499 by Cardinal Cisneros, during the 16-17C, it became the great center of academic excellence. In 1777 it was separated physically and organically from its Colegio Mayor de San Ildefonso (college), and was renamed Royal University of Alcalá, with headquarters in the old building of the Colegio Maximo of the Jesuits of Alcalá de Henares.

The junior colleges created by Cardinal Cisneros were: the College of St. Peter and St. Paul, uniquely linked to a religious order, the Franciscan, who was the founder; The College of the Mother of God (known as the College of Theologians) to study theology, although medical studies also stood out in it; The College of Santa Catalina (known as the Artists;Bachelors in Arts or physicists) to study Aristotle’s physics; The College of Santa Balbina (known as of the logical ones) because in it were studied this and other philosophical and theological disciplines, corresponding to the first courses of arts;  The schools of San Eugenio and San Isidoro (from the Latin and Greek grammars) that merged into a single call from St. Ambrose in the 17C.

After the death of Cardinal Cisneros, from the second quarter of the 16C, the lower schools of the religious orders began to proliferate (Augustinians, the Convent of San Basilio de los Basilios, the Carmelites, Barefoot, Cistercian, Clerics Minor regulars, Dominicans, Franciscans, Jesuits, Mercedarios footwear and barefoot, and Trinitarian footwear and barefoot), of the military orders, of dioceses (like the minor College of Saint Clement martyr or of the Manchegos), of Royal Foundation (by Felipe II, like that of San Felipe and Santiago, called “of the King”), and private foundation (like that of Santiago or of the Knights Manriques, that of Saint Catherine Martyr or of the Greens, that of Saint Ciriaco and Santa Paula or of Malaga, the minor School of Saint George or of the Irish) , expanding the university city with about thirty smaller schools.

In 1777 the government  power of the University and of the Colegio Mayor de San Ildefonso was separated, by means of new statutes and the grouping in 1779 of several minor schools in the new Junior College of the Immaculate Conception of Our Lady. In 1836, under the reign of queen Isabel II, the university was transferred to Madrid, where it took the name of Central University. In 1836 the university was integrated together with the teachings of the Royal Studies of San Isidro and the Royal Museum of Natural Sciences of Madrid in a single institution, thus creating the Central University of Madrid, which over time became the current Complutense University of Madrid.


The buildings that had previously hosted the University of Cardinal Cisneros were auctioned and passed to private hands in 1845. Today, the heirs of these neighbors of Alcalá remain the owners of an important part of the buildings that formerly formed the university, the so-called University square or manzana, which are rented to the current University of Alcalá.  In their classrooms, they taught and/or  studied great masters,and illustrious men, such as Antonio de Nebrija, Santo Tomás de Villanueva, Juan Ginés de Sepúlveda, Ignacio de Loyola, Domingo de Soto, Ambrosio de Morales, Benito Arias Montano, Francisco Suárez, Juan de Mariana, Francisco Vallés de Covarrubias, Antonio Pérez, San Juan de la Cruz, Mateo Alemán, Lope de Vega, Francisco de Quevedo y Villegas, Pedro Calderón de la Barca, Melchor Gaspar de Jovellanos, Andrés Manuel del Rio, Fray Diego Morcillo, Blas Ortiz, etc.


There are several buildings of it and will take a good whole day to see them all but all are worth it. In addition, the city center around Plaza de Cervantes is very nice and plenty to shop and eat. Enjoy the Universidad de Alcalà de Henares for its history, architecture, and social values of over the centuries.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip are:

The University of Alcalà de Henares on its history: https://www.uah.es/es/conoce-la-uah/la-universidad/historia-mision-y-valores/#historia-de-la-universidad

The Alcalà de Henares tourist office on the universityhttps://www.turismoalcala.es/turismo/monumento-colegio-mayor-de-san-ildefonso-universidad-de-alcala/

The Community of Madrid region tourist office on the university: https://turismomadrid.es/es/descubre/alcala-de-henares/de-inter%C3%A9s/252-universidad-de-alcal%C3%A1.html

And there you go another gem of my beloved Spain to dwell on in your visits to the lovely historical city of Alcalà de Henares, and its wonderful University. Enjoy it

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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