The city of Alcalá de Henares, that gave birth to Miguel de Cervantes in 1547, was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO on December 2, 1998. This UNESCO recognition not only refers to the historical and artistic heritage that holds the Complutense city but also to the important contribution to universal culture Alcalá especially in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. UNESCO declared the Kyoto summit "University and Historic Precinct of Alcalá de Henares" deserved to be included in the World Heritage List, justifying the registration based on the fulfillment of three criteria:
Criterion II. Alcalá de Henares is the first city designed and built especially to host a university, and this design would serve as a model for other schools in Europe and America.
Criterion IV. The concept of the ideal city, the City of God (Civitas Dei) was first materialized in Alcala de Henares, where irradiated the world.
Criterion VI. The contribution of Alcalá de Henares to the intellectual development of humanity shown in the embodiment of the Civitas Dei, in the linguistic developments that took place in the city, especially on the Spanish language, and through the work of his son's illustrious Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra and his masterpiece Don Quixote.
It is World Heritage historic set of Alcalá, developed from the Middle Ages, and in which Jews, Muslims and Christians lived in tolerance. So is the university founded by Cisneros in 1499, which caused a great artistic and cultural explosion in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. In these years Alcalá became the city of knowledge, the great characters that made the so-called Golden Age Spanish appear to be linked, either as students or as teachers, city and academia complutense. names like Elio Antonio de Nebrija, Francisco de Quevedo, Lope de Vega, Calderon de la Barca, Tirso de Molina, Matthew German, Antonio Perez, Benito Arias Montano, Santo Tomas de Villanueva, San Francisco Caracciolo, San Ignacio de Loyola and St. John of the Cross speak of intellectual greatness Alcalá in those golden days. But among all stands, shining with its own light, Miguel de Cervantes, born in Alcalá in 1547, the memory permeates tackles the cultural heartbeat of Alcalá de Henares.
Alcalá de Henares is now a prime tourist spot in Spain. The ancient Roman Complutum changed its name and location when Islam was imposed on the peninsula, calling Al'Qual'at in Nah'ar, a name that would set the final name to our city. After the reconquest, conducted in 1118, the city became lordship and habitual residence of the Archbishops of Toledo, the pampered prelates and embellished over the centuries.
An Archbishop of Toledo, Francisco Ximenez de Cisneros, founded by Bull of Alexander VI in 1499, the University of Alcalá, which made the old Compluto the intellectual center of Spain in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the city living in these centuries its heyday. The footprint of that golden era can be seen today contemplating the old colleges as The Mayor of San Ildefonso, Jesuits, Dominicans, Trinitarians Caracciolos, Basilian or King's College which are no more a few examples of the more than fifty colleges who settled in the city throughout the centuries.
Walking Alcalá can know its 2000 years of history, the Roman house of Hippolytus, Islamic fortress Alcalá la Vieja, the medieval walled city, the Magisterial Church Cathedral, the Archbishop's Palace, the College of San Ildefonso, the birthplace of Cervantes the Monasterio de San Bernardo, the Comedy Corral, Puerta de Madrid and the Palace of Laredo are a small sample of the rich artistic heritage to be enjoyed as much today alcalaínos visitors.