Recovery of the buildings of the University in Alcala de Henares

Alcalá de Henares, Madrid, Comunidad de Madrid.

Dating of the building: 16th - 17th century.

Applicant: University of Alcalá.

Reason for the award :

For the material and cultural rehabilitation as a University City.

Europa Nostra was four years ahead of UNESCO in its outstanding assessment of the recovery work on the Alcalá de Henares university campus.

The 1994 Europa Nostra award for the recovery of the old University City of Alcala presaged the inclusion in the UNESCO list of world heritage sites granted four years later: the highest world decoration that a historical site can obtain. Alcala de Henares is universally known for several reasons, one being the birthplace of Cervantes and the other for housing one of the greatest European universities, founded by Cardinal Cisneros in 1498. The university, the glory of Castilian literature during the modern age, began its decline in the 18th century, received the coup de grace with its abolition in 1836, and with the creation of the Central University of Madrid. As a result, Alcala lost its entire academic life, and most of its university buildings were auctioned off when not looted. If they were saved from demolition, it was thanks to their purchase by the Society of Condueños, who gave the buildings over as prisons or barracks. The town recovered its university status in 1975 when, during Spain’s economic growth,  industries were set up in the region.

Since then and until the award of the Europa Nostra medal there have been many works on the old university campus, starting with the schools of San Ildefonso, Trilingual, San Pedro, and San Pablo, continuing with the University chapel and the churches of San Cirilo and Los Remedios, or the Jesuit Colegio Máximo, the Irish College, Basilios College, King’s College and Lizana’s house. This vast task has lasted for more than ten years and has succeeded in giving the city its unmistakable university spirit.

Others awards in Comunidad de Madrid: