UNESCO World Heritage City
"Lovely old town centre"
Alcala is located a few miles to the east of Madrid and is a lively university city with two complete different faces: the old heritage part of the town and the one with old as well as new apartment blocks.
I really enjoyed strolling through the streets between the historic buildings & monuments - originating from the Romans to the period of the Renaissance - lots of small shops, and arcades, which provide cool shadow during the hot summer months.
There is not a lot to say about the more 'modern' face, though. With its busy streets, heavy traffic and bar-like cafes it left me with an impression of a rather working-class style town, which did not particularly appeal to me.
The picture shows the central square in the middle of the old town - a great festive & social place.
It is best known as one of the oldest (possibly the oldest) planned university towns in Europe. The Universidad Complutense was founded in 1486. The name comes from an ancient Roman town in the area, Complutum. Many of the original college buildings remain although very few are still part of the university. Some are residences or museums now, and a few can still be toured.
I was able to walk up to the roof top of this building and enjoyed a wonderful view to the surrounding areas of Alcala. Even it was not summer yet and weather fairly changeable, you could immediately feel the mediterranean flair when walking through the court yards.
"Home of Miguel de Cervantes' Don Quixote"
Who does not know the story of the 'heroic' and world famous Don Quixote and his servant Sancho Panza?
Alcala is the birth place of Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, the creator of these lovely adventurers. He lived there from 1547 until 1616.