University and Historic Precinct of Alcalá de Henares

Another day trip out of Madrid, this time on a frequent service commuter train. This is another town that has really got its tourist act together; there was a man in a booth by the railway station handing out maps and a sheet listing the opening times and entry costs of  the various places of interest whilst the town was dotted with handy information panels.

What marks the place out for world heritage status is that it was the world’s first planned university city (founded in the early 16th century) based on the concept of the ideal ‘City of God’. It acted as a model for subsequent cities both in Europe and South America.

Now this led me to expect a formal geometric street layout but it is in fact built on the street plan of the medieval city so the planning is more in the design and placement of the buildings. The facade of the Colegio de San Ildefonso (1537-53) is the jewel in the architectural crown.

Alcala de Henares University

Alcala de Henares University

 It also has some lovely arcaded cloisters and interesting interiors, including this ceiling:

Alcala de Henares University

Alcala de Henares University

My Lego model for this site had to be an attempt at the facade pictured above:

Lego Alcala de Henares University

Lego Alcala de Henares University

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