Avila city walls and cathedral © Turismo de Ávila

The Route of the Spanish Language

Seguir la estela de las Ciudades Patrimonio permite descubrir la cuna de la lengua castellana y hallar el rastro de ilustres narradores, como Cervantes, Lope de Vega o Unamuno.  

Following the Heritage Cities trail offers the chance to discover the birthplace of the Spanish language and trace the steps of illustrious writers such as Cervantes, Lope de Vega or Unamuno. Alcalá de Henares The Route of the Spanish Language traces the major milestones for Spanish, from its birth around the 10th century in San Millán de la Cogolla, through different cities in Castille and Leon where it took shape, to Alcalá de Henares where it achieved maturity in Golden Age literature with such universal writers as Lope de Vega, Quevedo, Tirso de Molina and Calderón de la Barca. Alcalá de Henares, however, is first and foremost the birthplace of Cervantes. Every October Cervantes Week is held in his honour, transforming the city with a return to the 16th and 17th centuries. In addition, there are several examples of the city’s permanent homage to its honorary citizen such as Cervantes April, the Museum which today houses the writer’s home, the Trail through the Literary City and Los Universos de Cervantes (Worlds of Cervantes) Visitor Centre. In turn, Alcalá de Henares is the world capital of Hispanic Literature being the main headquarters of the Cervantes Institute and awarding the Cervantes Literature Prize every 23rd April. Ávila Ávila’s city walls, cathedral, churches, convents and monumental buildings were witness to the mystic lives of Saint Teresa of Jesus and Saint John of the Cross. Their intense religious and literary work has made them an unquestionable reference for a city where history and worship of knowledge have gone hand in hand. The trace of these writers and more recent authors from the 19th and 20th centuries such as Unamuno, García Lorca, ‘Azorín’ or Delibes, can be followed. They were all inspired by the city and wrote some of the most beautiful passages in Spanish about it. Salamanca Salamanca saw the birth of the first grammar book of a modern European language by professor Elio Antonio de Nebrija at the university who published the Gramática de la Lengua Castellana in 1492. It set the bases for the Spanish when the language was spreading to the New World. The University of Salamanca was founded in 1218 and has spread the Spanish language throughout the centuries. Today it still attracts thousands of students from around the world who wish to learn Spanish on its international courses. Before these, writers such as Unamuno or Góngora walked the city’s streets and both Saint John of the Cross and Fray Luis de León left their works to the university. The Calixto y Melibea Garden, the old rooms at the historic university building, Lazarillo de Tormes by the river, Saint Teresa of Jesus, Beatriz Galindo and the Lawyer of Glass are people and characters, reality and fiction, that are part of the history of this city on the Route of the Spanish Language.