INFORMATION | THE BUILDING
Miguel de Cervantes’ place of birth has long been debated and questioned, and it wasn’t until 1948 that Luis Astrana Marín, author of The Heroic and Exemplary Life of Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, proclaimed this very building as such. The property is situated in the historic old city of Alcalá de Henares, next to the ‘Hospital de Antezana’, where the writer’s father, Rodrigo de Cervantes, worked.
As a result of this discovery, the Alcalá de Henares City Council bought the property in 1954 to establish a Cervantes museum. That same year, the City Council handed over the building to the National Ministry of Education.
The current Museum, inaugurated in 1956 as the ‘Cervantes Museum and Library’, is a product of the reconstruction work done to the original property. The reconstruction involved the creation of a garden and a new entranceway at number 48 Calle Mayor. It had previously been located at number 2 Calle Imagen. By way of Royal Decree 680/1985 of April 19 the Casa Natal de Cervantes was given over to the Community of Madrid, which, between 1997 and 2003, remodelled some of the rooms whilst also preserving the original elements.
The rooms are spread over two floors and come off a courtyard with columns. At one end of the courtyard is a well with a stone parapet that supplied water to the family. The rooms devoted to the family’s public and social areas, where guests and patients of Miguel de Cervantes’ father were received, are on the ground floor. The upper floor is reserved for their private life, with the bedrooms, a room devoted to ‘The Retable of Maese Pedro’ (Quixote II, Ch. XXVI) and two temporary exhibition rooms where a variety of Cervantes’ works are displayed.