Intercultural Programs for
High School Students
Study Abroad in Spain



Alcala de Henares is a university town not far from Madrid, and it is home to one of Spain’s best and oldest universities. It is also famous for being the birth-place of Miguel de Cervantes, the creator of Don Quixote. Alcala is a city that exemplifies perfectly the concept of cultural tourism. The city stands since the times of Romans, and there are vestiges of every civilization that has passed through the region.

When the Romans expanded their empire, the city was conquered and renamed Complutum, and became one of the most important cities of the Iberian Peninsula. Ruins from that period can still be found in Alcalá, such as the remains of the thermal baths, a nymphaeum, and several villas. Alcala remained a flourishing city under Roman rule for the next half a century, but when the Roman Empire started to unravel, the city was ravaged, by the Visigoths. In the early 8th century, Alcala came under Moorish rule, which would change the city’s face forever. The Moors built the fortress of Al-Qual’at, known today as Old Alcala.

Alcala remained under Moorish control until the time known as the Reconquista, when the bishop of Toledo brought the city back in the hands of the Spanish. The city became more multicultural than ever: Alcala sported a Moorish and Christian quarter, and a Jewish district. The King of Castile, whose residence was in Madrid, often stayed in Alcala when travelling south.. The University opened its doors, several churches were built, and Alcala became known throughout Europe as one o the greatest centers for learning on the continent.

The University Complutense was moved to Madrid in the 19th century, and Alcala did not have a university anymore until 1977, when the University of Alcala opened. The two universities are unrelated; the new university merely occupies the buildings of the Complutense. Alcala was severely damaged during the Spanish Civil war, but nowadays the city reclaimed its former beauty, and the ravages of the war are nowhere to be seen. The Cervantes prizes for literature, are presented by the King and Queen of Spain every year in Miguel de Cervantes’ birth-place.























IMPORTANT NOTE: If for any reason beyond the control of CIRI the trip couldn’t be taken, it will be substituted by another of similar characteristics