Alcalá de Henares – Patrimonio de la Humanidad Posted on January 14th, 2012 by

¡Bienvenidos! Welcome to my blog. This semester I am studying in Alcalá de Henares, a city located by Madrid in the Autonomous Community of Madrid in Spain. It is a very old city with a history at least as old as the Romans. Back then, the city was called COMPLVTVM (Complutum) and that name is still used in a few places within the city. Its current name comes from the Arabic word al-qal’a, which means fortress. Henares is the name of the river nearby so Alcalá de Henares literally means fortress on the Henares River. But it isn’t a fortress anymore, but a big city of 200,000 people.

There are couple things you should know about Alcalá (there are actually more cities named Alcalá, but everyone here just says Alcalá, so I will too). First, it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In Spanish they call it Patrimonio de la Humanidad, which is where the name of this blog comes from. Also, Alcalá is the birthplace of Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra. Maybe you’ve heard of him. He’s kind of like the Shakespeare of Spanish language. His most famous work is the book Don Quixote de la Mancha. So basically, Alcalá is kind of a big deal.

And now for a little bit about what I’ll be doing here:

I’m studying with CIEE at the Benjamin Franklin Institute for North American Studies, which is part of the University of Alcalá de Henares (UAH). I’ll also be living with a family in Alcalá. I don’t know who they are yet but I’m looking forward to experiencing Spanish culture in a family setting. While I’m not studying I’ll be exploring the city and spending time in Madrid, since its right next door. Also, CIEE has two trips planned for us. One to Seville and Cordova (Sevilla and Córdoba in Spanish), and another to Rueda, León and Cuevas de Valporquero.

My plan is to post a new entry every couple of days. Also, I plan to take lots of photos so I’ll throw a few of those up as well.

¡Hasta luego! (Until next time!)



  1. Catherine K says:

    Alcalá sounds increíble!! I didn’t know that’s where you were going. You are going to have such an awesome semester. I can’t wait to hear more and see pictures!

  2. Brenna Haeseli says:

    Your life just sounds so cool Andrei! like i wish i was you.. hahah