A Miracle in Alcalá de Henares?

A Miracle in Alcalá de Henares?

Alcalá de Henares, Spain – March 19, 2010

On a whim today, we decided to drive to the small town of Alcalá de Henares.  It is a quaint little town that boasts the home of Miguel de Cervantes, the author of Don Quixote.  In addition, it is also the home of Parroquia San Pedro Apóstol (Saint Peter the Apostle Parrish), which was once the home to miraculous Eucharistic hosts.

As the story goes, in the late 1500s, a thief stole some two-dozen consecrated hosts and other valuable items from a church in Alcalá de Henares.  The thief later confessed his sins.  After the thief’s confession, the priest asked him to return the hosts to him in a silver box.  The thief did as requested.  After more than a decade, the hosts were still in perfect condition even though other, non-consecrated hosts had decomposed.  In 1619, the Catholic Church officially declared the consecrated hosts were a miracle.  During the Spanish Civil War (1936 to 1939), some priests hid the hosts before the church was burned.  The hosts have not since been seen.

Part of our decision to drive to Alcalá de Henares today was to see the church where the miraculous consecrated hosts had been kept for a time.  However, after parking, one of the first sights that greeted us was the façade of the University of Alcalá. The university dates from 1496, the brainchild of Cardinal Cisneros. The design of the façade of the main University building is quite striking to see.

The view toward the University of Alcalá from Calle Bedel. The university dates from 1496.

Since the author, Miguel de Cervantes was born in Alcalá de Henares, one can see a statue of him in the main square.  In addition, at the edge of the Barrio Judío (Jewish Quarter), the house in which Cervantes was born is now a museum.  It is easy to spot.  In front of the house is a bench with bronze sculptures of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza.

Looking south in the Plaza de Cervantes. The statue is a
Monumento a Miguel de Cervantes (Monument to Miguel de Cervantes), the author of Don Quixote.
Another view of the monument.
Door number 8.
Sancho Panza and Don Quixote sitting on a bench in the rain.
An old building in the Barrio Judío (Jewish Quarter) of Alcalá de Henares.
Detail of the Jewish Quarter sign.
A double door.

The Parroquia San Pedro Apóstol is impressive.  It dates from roughly the same time as the founding of the university.  Although, I must say this church is much brighter on the interior than many we have seen in Europe.

The interior of Parroquia San Pedro Apóstol (Saint Peter the Apostle).
A statue of Mary and Jesus at a side chapel.
Another statue of Mary and Jesus.
Detail of the gate behind the main altar.

It was a fairly rainy day; however, we still had fun.  In places, it was beautiful because the almond trees were beginning to bloom.

Alcalá de Henares is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

It is time for a Cruzcampo beer!!
The entrance to the Parroquia San Pedro Apóstol.
A poster on a door advertising the Second Vintage Latin Party.
A door with a coat of arms.
The bell tower of the Parroquia San Pedro Apóstol.
The door to a hostel.
Door number 12.
My chilled, but dry traveling companions.
A water fountain and graffiti in the Huerto de los Leones (Garden of the Lions).
Hillary striking a pose in the gardens.
Door number 15.
Panorama of a building on Calle del Empecinado (Stubborn Street).
Door number 3.
Calle Mayor (Main Street).
A painting on Calle Mayor.
Detail of the painting, “La Ronda de Noche.” It seems to be a take on Rembrandt’s “The Night Watch.”
Hillary and Tyler in front of the home of Miguel de Cervantes.

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