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Universidad de Alcala

University of Alcala

The Town
Alcalá de Henares is situated in the Autonomous region of Madrid, and lies 30 km away from Madrid city. Alcalá, the main town of the Corredor del Henares, is both a historical and modern town.

Alcalá de Henares has its origins in Celtiberian settlements, and was one of the Roman Empire sites. The Romans called it Complutum, a name which remains dear to Alcalá's inhabitans, however Alcalá is an Arabic name, as the town came under the Muslim power after the imperial decline. After the Christian conquest in 1118, Alcalá came under the powerful Catholic Archbishops of Toledo. Alcalá was given the title of city by King Carlos II in 1687 and in 1968 was declared a Historic/Artistic Site. Alcalá has also had the honour of being the town where Miguel de Cervantes, the author of Don Quijote de la Mancha, was born.

The old part of Alcalá contains more than 465 buildings, convents, monasteries, churches, chapels, palaces and colleges, they have survived past times showing to the visitor different styles in architecture. Thus, mudejar, neo-mudejar, late gothic, renaissance, baroque, neo-classical styles live together in Alcalá.

The University
At the end of the fifteenth century, in 1499, the University of Alcalá was founded by Cardinal Cisneros, Archbishop of Toledo and confessor to Queen Isabel the Catholic, and thus the University of Alcalá became the most important intellectual centre of its time. Colleges, convents and palaces were built around the Colegio de San Ildefonso, main building of the University with a marvellous plateresque façade constructed by Rodrigo Gil de Hontañón. This building shows the University's sixteenth century grandeur and the protection it received from the monarchs of Castile. The University attracted the most outstanding thinkers in Spain. The Biblia Poliglota Complutense (1517) is an example of a universal book consisting of translations of the Holy Scriptures in Latin, Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic. The seventeenth century was one of crisis, during the nineteenth century the University was at the mercy of changing political fortunes. The decision of 1836 to remove the University of Alcalá to Madrid meant the loss of its rich architectural, bibliographic and documentary heritage. The University was reopened in 1977, and since then it has sought to forge links between its present and its past. In December 2, 1998, UNESCO declared the historical nucleus of the city of Alcalá and the University a World Heritage Site.

University Departments Involved

A team of two persons, Dr Piedad Martín and Dr Lina Sierra are working in this project. Dr Martín is Coordinator of the Programme of Training and Employment, attached to the Vice-rectorate of Students, and she is responsible for guidance and counselling for university students and postgraduates, training of postgraduates in order to help them in their professions, including teaching. Dr. Sierra is Senior Lecturer at the Department of Modern Philology, she has great experience as a lecturer in English Literature and Applied Linguistics as well as in Teacher Training of Secondary School Teachers, both initial and in-service training, as the Department of Modern Philology is responsible for teaching and research of Modern Languages (English, French and German), their respective Literature, Phonetics, Applied Linguistics, etc.

This project has been funded with support from the European Commission.
This web-page and documents/publications which could be downloaded here reflect the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.
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