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Alcalá de Henares meaning Citadel on the river Henares, is a Spanish city, whose historical centre is one of UNESCO's World Heritage Sites, and one of the first bishoprics founded in Spain. The centre of Alcala de Henares remains essentially medieval, with many winding cobbled streets, and many historic buildings. The city centre surrounds the famous Plaza de Cervantes and is traversed by a long pedestrian main street, the Calle Mayor. The city includes the Moorish quarter, the Jewish quarter, and the Christian quarter. These distinct neighborhoods have given Alcalá the reputation of "the city of three cultures."

The old city centre has been largely preserved, unlike the suburbs. There has been no clear planning by the city councillors regarding expansion, and the sprawling suburban areas are irregularly constructed, with the addition of seventies-style high rise blocks in many places.

One of the most important streets in the city is the Calle del Cardenal Cisneros which takes tourists from the Madrid Gate at the entrance of the city, to the old city center and the Cathedral in Santos Niños Square. The main park of Alcalá, Parque Municipal O'donnell is a major recreational center for city residents and lies along a main road of Alcalá, Via Compultense.

The city hosts a large population of international students due to the presence of the University, and in particular its Spanish language and literature programs for foreign students. Alcalingua, a branch of University of Alcalá, is one of the major foreign language learning centers for students from abroad.


Alcalá is well known for its population of white storks. Their large nests can be observed atop many of the churches and historic buildings in the city, and are themselves a significant tourist attraction. Situated in the lowlands of the Henares river, the city is an attractive home for the migratory storks due to the wide availability of food and nesting material in the area.


I dedicate this photo to those TE members whom the storks visited lately :).

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Additional Photos by Malgorzata Kopczynska (emka) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5172 W: 81 N: 13295] (76433)
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