The heritage of Alcalà de Henares, part I !!!

Once again , I come back to do an update of an older post and what a memorable visit to Alcalà de Henares this was ,my second with the family and it was a blast. We took a leisure time to walk all over and see these magnificent architecture buildings full of history we love. I like to tell you a bit more on the heritage monuments of Alcalà de Henares!

There is so much  to see in the 2nd most visited country in the world (WTO-UN 2018).  I used to lived there, citizen of, and visit every year. However, one of my favorite towns and written on it on several posts in a general sense is Alcalà de Henares in the Comunidad de Madrid region. I like to tell you a bit more on the different historical, religious, and just plain heritage of this wonderful city. It will be a bit long but worth it, sit back and enjoy it as I do.

The Convento de San Juan de la Penitencia,  Commonly  called “de las juanas “, is a Franciscan female convent that currently occupies the old building of the Junior College of San Nicolás de Tolentino; at Calle Santiago. At the end of the 15C or in 1508, Cardinal Cisneros founded, on the street leading from the Archiepiscopal palace, the Master of the Holy Children and currently named San Juan, under the patronage of that saint, a monastery of Franciscan nuns , maid’s College and Women’s Hospital. This community was in charge of the will of Cisneros,  so it retained many memories of the man. In 1884 the community of Franciscans or Clarisas that until then occupied the building of the Calle de San Juan, in bad condition, moved to the old building of the College of Augustinian Recollects, one of the junior colleges of the University of Alcala, with the name of San Nicolás de Tolentino, had been founded in 1604 for the Barefoot Augustinians. webpage: Official Alcala tourism on Convento de San Juan


The Convento de las Clarisas de San Diego. It is located on Calle Beatas , opposite the old San Diego Barracks, now in renovations. Facing its simple façade only decorated with the image of San Diego popularly called “Las Diegas de Alcalá “-and a shield belonging to Cardinal Cisneros, there is a bronze statue of Archbishop Carrillo made in 1987. The convent was founded by Catalina Garcia Fernandez in 1670 in the house of her aunt Maria Fernandez, printer of the University of Alcalá. It is a must stop to buy its famous almonds  that are acquired through a lathe as they are cloistered nuns.webpage: Convento de las Clarisas de San Diego


The Colegio de Caracciolos.  The other school , also of a religious nature, was founded by San Francisco Caracciolo at the beginning of the 17C decided to erect a new school-convent that, in time, came to occupy the whole  area between the Calle de la Trinidad , the slaughterhouse (today hatch gate) and that of the archpriest. The church, built throughout the second third of the 17C, is the first to be finished. The facade, set back with respect to the body of the school, is made in brick and formed by a large rectangular central body, finished in pediment with a glass, and two side bodies, with windows, joined to the central by winged arch. In 1987, it was ceded to the University of Alcalá, which finished to restored the school in 1997 to be seat of the faculty of Philology. The temple, finally restored in 1999, has recovered its original forms and is theater and exhibition hall of the university.  In what was the garden of the convent a building has been built, in which the municipal library Cardenal Cisneros and the municipal historical archive are today. webpage:


The Colegio-Convento de Mínimos de San Francisco de Paula de Santa Ana o de Nuestra Señora de la Victoria  It was founded in 1553. Thanks to Bartolomé de Santoyo is built in its current location. The Church, the first one that does not follow the Gothic-Mudejar traces in the city, began to be built between 1580 and 1593. The collegiate building is built throughout the 17C, for whose enlargement was bought the original convent of Barefoot Carmelites of Conception. Where  professed as nuns Luisa of Belén Cervantes, sister of Miguel de Cervantes.. At present it is the headquarters of the Faculty of Economic and Business Sciences of the University of Alcalá. webpage: Colegio minimos or our lady of Victory


The Colegio Convento de San Agustín.  It was founded in 1518, although the true architect of the same was the Augustinian, and former schoolboy of the Mayor of San Ildefonso, Saint Thomas of Villanueva. From 1555, thanks to the protection of Doña Juana of Austria, the sister of king Felipe III took steps to be part of the royal patronage. Today are housed the courts of the city, being the highlight of the building its stone cover with the image of its patron Saint Augustin, located above the entrance door, in a niche framed between pilasters, in it also appear the shield of his Order and the founder’s. Santo Tomás was canonized in the year 1658 and his Saint day is celebrated on the 10th of October, being a well-known character in Alcalá de Henares. The original building has undergone several renovations over the years, its church is single-nave and was built for the most part from the year 1624. webpage:


The Colegio-convento de San Basilio Magno  It’s baroque style. It was erected in 1660 as a junior College of the University of Alcalá, currently it is a university cultural center. It is founded in May 1660, building in Baroque style and hexagonal floor, with a large cover, which includes a niche with statue of the holy Saint. Nowadays it is used as cultural center of the University of Alcalá.webpage: Colegio Convento San Basilio el Magno


The Colegio de Teólogos de la Madre de Dios . It is located within the founding block of the university. It was one of the first minor schools founded in the time of Cardinal Cisneros, devoted to the study of theology and medicine. Among his schoolboys was the Doctor of king Felipe II, Francisco Vallés. The architecture of the building corresponds to the 16C. At present it is the seat of the illustrious Bar Association of Alcalá de Henares. webpage: Colegio de Téologos de la Madre de Dios


The Colegio Menor de San Ciriaco y Santa Paula, conocido popularmente por Colegio de Málaga. It is one of the schools that integrated the old Cisneriana University of Alcalá de Henares. The Malaga school was founded in 1611; The construction began at 1623 in Calle Colegios. In 1836 with the closing of the University of Alcalá, the building remained as University College until 1843; Later, it served as artillery school and army farriers. In 1847 it was restored to be used as a archives center, and in 1858, the city Council of Madrid remodeled the building to host the San Bernardino asylum, for elderly and helpless women. In 1949 ,it was transformed into the boarding school  “Nuestra Señora de la Paloma”, a charitable institution of the Madrid City Council, where children of adolescent age lived. Finally in 1983 ,it became the faculty of Philosophy and Letters of the present University of Alcalá.. Located at Calle Colegios, 2 very close to Plaza Cervantes. Webpage:  Colegio Ciriaco o Malaga 


The Colegio de San Felipe y Santiago, better known as the Colegio del Rey or King’s college .  It was founded in 1551 under the reign and patronage of king Felipe II, as a college for the teaching of theological, legal and canonical studies, destined for children of families in the service of the royal house. It is worth mentioning the figure of Francisco de Quevedo, who joined this school in 1596. His mother was able to enrolled in the service of the Infanta Clara Eugenia. In 1599 he was already a bachelor. In 1600 he graduated in arts. The current building was rebuilt on the old one, of which nothing is preserved, starting from 1609. The King’s school works as such until his transfer to Madrid in 1836. In 1842, it is sold to a private person. Towards 1882 it returns to the hands of the State and is destined to be a Post and Telegraph house. Later, the Casado’s family subjected it to profound reforms to convert it into housing, as the demolition of part of the chapel leaving only the domed cruiser, which becomes the current staircase of honor. In the 1980’s, the building is acquired by the City Council of Alcalá de Henares, which restores it in 1989 and installs in it the Foundation College of the King, the Public foundation of Culture and the historical background of the Municipal archive. In 1991 it was ceded to the  Instituto Cervantes, a public entity created that year to promote Spanish and disseminate its culture. Webpage: Colegio del Rey


The Colegio de San Jerónimo o Trilingüe   joins the Colegio Mayor through the continuous courtyard. Its Renaissance patio houses, in one of its bays, the auditorium. The area where the presentation of the Cervantes Prize is held annually. The origin of this school goes back to the early days of the university. At the end of the 16C the current building was built. From 1929 it houses the Parador (lodgings) of tourism known as the Hostería del Estudiante. webpage:  Colegio San Jeronimo


There you go folks, do you well to stop by and enjoy each and everyone of them, it is a wonderful city to walk and be among architectural and historical gems such as these. Do see my other posts on the city. Again, hope you enjoy the post on the heritage monuments of Alcala de Henares as I.

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

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2 Comments to “The heritage of Alcalà de Henares, part I !!!”

  1. You continue to tease me about this city.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. hahaha just happened to be there since 10 yrs old buddy;;;many family memories in my Spain.


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