Top Historic Sights in Alcalá de Henares, Spain

Explore the historic highlights of Alcalá de Henares

Alcalá de Henares University

Founded by Cardinal Jiménez de Cisneros in the early 16th century, Alcalá de Henares was the world"s first planned university city. It was the original model for the Civitas Dei (City of God), the ideal urban community which Spanish missionaries brought to the Americas. It also served as a model for universities in Europe and elsewhere. The property includes a magnificent complex of historic buildings, such as the ...
Founded: 1499 | Location: Alcalá de Henares, Spain

Alcalá de Henares Cathedral

The Cathedral of St Justus and St Pastor in Alcalá de Henares was constructed between 1497 and 1515 in late Gothic style. The tower was built between 1528 and 1582. During the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) the church was burned losing virtually all its treasures, saving some bars and some chairs from the old choir. In 1991 the diocese of Alcalá restored and elevated to the status of cathedral-master, the Diocese Comp ...
Founded: 1497 -1515 | Location: Alcalá de Henares, Spain

Archbishop's Palace of Alcalá de Henares

The Archbishop"s Palace of Alcalá de Henares is now home to the Diocese of Alcalá de Henares. It is located in the Plaza del Palacio and this form part of the monumental set declared World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The building set dates from 1209. Two thirds were destroyed as a result of a devastating fire in 1939, during the Spanish Civil War. Is preserved is what is left intact after the 1939 fire, the dam ...
Founded: 1209 | Location: Alcalá de Henares, Spain

Laredo Palace

Laredo Palace is a mixture of architectural, sculptural and decorative archetypes and elements, inspired by different styles but dominated by the neo-Mudejar style. The building is a set of rooms, towers and viewpoints, porches, terraces and gardens.Visitors will find rooms inspired by the Alhambra (plasterwork, tiles, coffering), by Pompeian frescos (paintings and painted fabrics) and by the Plateresque tradition, and wi ...
Founded: 1880-1882 | Location: Alcalá de Henares, Spain

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Royal Palace of Naples

Royal Palace of Naples was one of the four residences near Naples used by the Bourbon Kings during their rule of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies (1734-1860): the others were the palaces of Caserta, Capodimonte overlooking Naples, and the third Portici, on the slopes of Vesuvius.

Construction on the present building was begun in the 17th century by the architect Domenico Fontana. Intended to house the King Philip III of Spain on a visit never fulfilled to this part of his kingdom, instead it initially housed the Viceroy Fernando Ruiz de Castro, count of Lemos. By 1616, the facade had been completed, and by 1620, the interior was frescoed by Battistello Caracciolo, Giovanni Balducci, and Belisario Corenzio. The decoration of the Royal Chapel of Assumption was not completed until 1644 by Antonio Picchiatti.

In 1734, with the arrival of Charles III of Spain to Naples, the palace became the royal residence of the Bourbons. On the occasion of his marriage to Maria Amalia of Saxony in 1738, Francesco De Mura and Domenico Antonio Vaccaro helped remodel the interior. Further modernization took place under Ferdinand I of the Two Sicilies. In 1768, on the occasion of his marriage to Maria Carolina of Austria, under the direction of Ferdinando Fuga, the great hall was rebuilt and the court theater added. During the second half of the 18th century, a 'new wing' was added, which in 1927 became the Vittorio Emanuele III National Library. By the 18th century, the royal residence was moved to Reggia of Caserta, as that inland town was more defensible from naval assault, as well as more distant from the often-rebellious populace of Naples.

During the Napoleonic occupation the palace was enriched by Joachim Murat and his wife, Caroline Bonaparte, with Neoclassic decorations and furnishings. However, a fire in 1837 damaged many rooms, and required restoration from 1838 to 1858 under the direction of Gaetano Genovese. Further additions of a Party Wing and a Belvedere were made in this period. At the corner of the palace with San Carlo Theatre, a new facade was created that obscured the viceroyal palace of Pedro de Toledo.

In 1922, it was decided to transfer here the contents of the National Library. The transfer of library collections was made by 1925.

The library suffered from bombing during World War II and the subsequent military occupation of the building caused serious damage. Today, the palace and adjacent grounds house the famous Teatro San Carlo, the smaller Teatrino di Corte (recently restored), the Biblioteca Nazionale Vittorio Emanuele III, a museum, and offices, including those of the regional tourist board.