To commemorate the birth of its most famous native son, Alcalá de Henares celebrates a cultural festival in honor of Cervantes
On September 29, 1547, Miguel de Cervantes was born in Alcalá de Henares. He would go on to become one of the greatest writers in the history of literature and the author of such acclaimed works as The Ingenious Nobleman Don Quixote of La Mancha and Exemplary Novels. Every year in early October, the anniversary of his birth is celebrated with Cervantes Week, which combines cultural and festive elements. The week is full of all kinds of events highlighting the life and work of the famous writer from Alcalá de Henares.
For a few days, the city travels back to the 16th century. The festival includes a diverse program of cultural events including theatrical performances, puppet shows, concerts, and guided tours. It all revolves around Miguel de Cervantes and his best-known character, Don Quixote, who is honored in various events throughout the festival including a public reading of the eponymous work. The streets of Alcalá de Henares are the venue for a book fair where you can find old books and bargains, and most of the city’s restaurants offer Cervantes-themed menus for the occasion.
Without a doubt, the main event of the week is the Cervantes Market, one of the biggest medieval markets in Spain and one of the city’s main tourist attractions. The meticulous setup of the market transports visitors back to the 16th and 17th centuries. A number of traditional ceremonies are performed and visitors can purchase an extensive selection of food products and handmade crafts. Entertainment groups liven up the market and it is the stage for performances, parades, tournaments, falconry exhibitions, concerts, and children’s shows. Spaces such as Huerta del Obispo (“the Bishop’s Garden”) are set up to accommodate many of these events.
Cervantes Week in Alcalá de Henares is one of Spain’s greatest festivals celebrating one of its finest artists. This is a perfect opportunity to visit the city and enjoy a fun-filled cultural program which has been declared a Festival of Regional Touristic Interest.
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