Photographer's Note

The aspect of this trade, remains the same as many years ago, which contributes to give a touch of the past to this old street.

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The main street of Alcal de Henares is one of the most important in its historic center, both commercially and socially. It is the longest preserved street, on both sides, preserved in Europe (396 meters).


The Calle Mayor de Palencia is longer, but with arcades only on its western side (675 meters).


History
It owes its origin to the old Jewish aljama of the city, around the twelfth century, which was built along the path of the Caesar Augusta Roman road that passed through Complutum. As today, it was the commercial street of Alcal par excellence during the Middle Ages, so it was supported almost entirely, to place the stores at street level, while the houses were on the upper floor (with a gallery that communicated to the inhabitants of the different homes without having to descend to the public thoroughfare).


The archbishops Tenorio, Carrillo and Cisneros exchanged the right wooden feet for round stone columns between the fourteenth and sixteenth centuries, of which there are still enough copies even with remnants of the painting in red and blue colors, as they were decorated at parties during the Golden Age. Most were replaced by square pillars in the 19th century. It is currently a pedestrian street, and remains one of the main axes of the city.


With a straight and flat layout it goes, from east to west, from one of the corners of the Plaza de Cervantes to the Plaza de los Santos Nios, site of the Cathedral. It measures 396 meters in length, and its roadway is eight meters wide.In 1986 the street became pedestrian and, among other transformations, the asphalt was changed to paved.


It is supported on both sides of the public thoroughfare, and the houses are of three heights (low and two floors). Six peepholes are preserved on the entrance of old Jewish houses, and in the Middle Ages the building supports were straight wooden feet. Around 1500, Cardinal Cisneros ordered them replaced by stone columns, which mainly came from the old Complutum. These columns are of Tuscan order, although some have Corinthian scrolls. During a nineteenth-century reform, most of the columns were replaced by stone and concrete pillars, currently, Calle Mayor has 242 exempt or isolated vertical supports (29 are columns and 213 are pillars) and three pilasters.


Buildings of interest
Casa Natal de Cervantes: Reconstruction of a typical 17th century house on the site where Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra's birthplace was built. It is one of the most visited museums in the Community of Madrid for its representation of everyday life and the valuable furniture it contains.


Antezana Hospital: Founded by marriage order Antezana in 1483, it is one of the oldest functioning hospitals in Europe. Having less than 20 beds they called it "hospitalillo". Since 2006 the nuns left the way to the NGO of the Messengers of Peace.


Corral de la Synagogue: In medieval times, when the street was located in the Jewish quarter, a synagogue was built and destroyed in a fire. Only two entrances were preserved, one in front of the Calle de la Imagen, which has the old door with which the inner courtyards and squares were closed at night, and another entrance around number 37 of the main street that preserves the original floor . These entries end in the Irish square, which was the center of the synagogue and place of prayer.

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El aspecto de este comercio, se mantiene igual que hace muchisimos aos, lo cual contribuye a dar un toque del pasado a esta antigua calle.

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La calle Mayor de Alcal de Henares es una de las ms importantes de su casco histrico, tanto comercial como socialmente. Es la calle soportalada, a ambos lados, ms larga conservada en Europa (396 metros).


La Calle Mayor de Palencia es ms larga, pero con soportales slo en su lado occidental (675 metros).


Historia
Debe su origen a la antigua aljama juda de la ciudad, en torno al siglo XII, que se construy siguiendo el trazado de la calzada romana Caesar Augusta que pasaba por Complutum. Al igual que hoy, era la calle comercial de Alcal por excelencia durante la Edad Media, por lo que estaba soportalada casi en su totalidad, para situar las tiendas a pie de calle, mientras que las viviendas estaban en el piso superior (con una galera que comunicaba a los habitantes de los distintos hogares sin tener que descender a la va pblica).


Los arzobispos Tenorio, Carrillo y Cisneros cambiaron los pies derechos de madera por columnas redondas de piedra entre los siglos XIV y XVI, de las que an quedan bastantes ejemplares incluso con restos de la pintura en colores rojo y azul, pues se decoraban en las fiestas durante el Siglo de Oro. La mayora fueron sustituidas por pilares cuadrados en el siglo XIX. Actualmente es una calle peatonal, y sigue siendo uno de los ejes principales de la ciudad.


Con un trazado rectilneo y llano va, de este a oeste, desde una de las esquinas de la Plaza de Cervantes hasta la Plaza de los Santos Nios, emplazamiento de la Catedral. Mide 396 metros de longitud, y su calzada mide ocho metros de ancho. En 1986 la calle se hizo peatonal y, entre otras transformaciones, se cambi el asfalto por empedrado.


Est soportalada a ambos lados de la va pblica, y las viviendas son de tres alturas (bajo y dos plantas). Se conservan seis mirillas sobre la entrada de antiguas casas judas. En la Edad Media los soportes de los edificios eran pies derechos de madera. Hacia 1500, el Cardenal Cisneros orden sustituirlos por columnas de piedra, que principalmente procedan de la antigua Complutum. Estas columnas son de orden toscano, aunque alguna presenta volutas corintias. Durante una reforma del siglo XIX, la mayora de las columnas se sustituyeron por pilares de piedra y hormign. En la actualidad, la calle Mayor presenta 242 soportes verticales exentos o aislados (29 son columnas y 213 son pilares) y tres pilastras.


Edificios de inters
Casa Natal de Cervantes: Reconstruccin de una casa tpica del siglo XVII en el solar donde se levant la casa natal de Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra. Es uno de los museos ms visitados de la Comunidad de Madrid por su representacin de la vida cotidiana y los muebles de gran valor que contiene.


Hospital de Antezana: Fundado por orden del matrimonio Antezana en 1483, es uno de los hospitales en funcionamiento ms antiguo de Europa. Al tener menos de 20 camas lo llamaron "hospitalillo". Desde 2006 las monjas dejaron el paso a la ONG de los Mensajeros de la Paz.


Corral de la Sinagoga: En la poca medieval, cuando la calle se situaba en el barrio judo, se construy una sinagoga que se destruy en un incendio. Slo se conservaron dos entradas, una frente a la calle de la Imagen, que posee la antigua puerta con la que se cerraba los patios y placitas interiores por la noche, y otra entrada entorno al nmero 37 de la calle Mayor que conserva el suelo original. Dichas entradas acaban en la plaza de los Irlandeses, que fue el centro de la sinagoga y lugar de oracin.

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Additional Photos by Luis Garcia (adramad) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 8273 W: 5 N: 14905] (66332)
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