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Alcala De Henares

(3.8/5 based on 3,000+ reviews for top 30 attractions)
Things to do: sightseeing, museums, religious sites
Alcalá de Henares, meaning Citadel on the river Henares, is a Spanish city whose historical centre is one of UNESCO's World Heritage Sites. The city stands out for its rich archaeology and was one of the first bishoprics founded in Spain. Located in the Autonomous Community of Madrid, 35km northeast of the city of Madrid, at an altitude of 588m above sea level, it has a population of around 200,000. Locally, the city is generally known simply as "Alcalá", but "de Henares" is appended when needed to differentiate it from a dozen Spanish cities sharing the name Alcalá (from the Arabic word al-qal'a القلعة for fortification or citadel). The Latin name, Complutum, is sometimes used. The city is capital of its namesake region, Comarca de Alcalá.HistoryThe city boundaries have been inhabited since the Calcolithic phase of the Bronze Age. Romans conquered the area in the 1st century BC, and built the town of Complutum near a previous Celtiberian settlement, called Iplacea. Thus, it became the only Roman town in the Madrid region. With 10,000 inhabitants, it reached the status of Municipium and had its own governing institutions. After the downfall of the Roman Empire, under the Visigoths, it declined, although it also became a pilgrimage destination in remembrance of the Saints Justo and Pastor.
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