by Erin Elaine
Alcalá de Henares was the first city to be designed and built solely as the seat of a university, and was to serve as the model for other centres of learning in Europe and the Americas. It was founded in the early 16th century.
Unlike other university cities in Europe, Alcalá de Henares did not develop slowly, adapting itself to its urban surroundings. From the start it was conceived by Cisneros as an entity, which took over a partly abandoned medieval town and converted it into a city whose function was solely that of a university. This involved the creation of houses to lodge professors and students and the provision of services such as a sewer system and paved streets.
Some of it was closed for renovations, but I was able to see quite a lot just wandering around. It was amazing to be able to see a 500-year-old university!