Alcalá de Henares

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Alcalá de Henares (Spanish pronunciation: [alkaˈla ðe eˈnaɾes]), 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. Located in the Autonomous Community of Madrid, 35 km northeast of the city of Madrid, at an altitude of 588 metres (1929 ft) above sea level, it has a population of around 200,000, the second largest of the region after the Spanish capital itself. The city is generally known simply as "Alcalá", but "de Henares" is often appended to differentiate it from a dozen cities sharing the name Alcalá (from the Arabic word Arabic al-qal'a القلعة for fortification or citadel). It is capital of Comarca de Alcalá.

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The City today

The centre of the city remains essentially medieval, with many winding cobbled streets, and many historic buildings. The city centre surrounds Cervantes Square (the famous Plaza de Cervantes) and is traversed by a long pedestrian main street, the Calle Mayor.

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 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.

The Storks

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