Discover the traces of Cervantes and his famous character Don Quixote.
Knowing how the noblemen of Cervantes’ time lived, touring the rooms of typical homes, immersing oneself in the philosophy of life of these knights, admiring the majesty of the windmills that Don Quixote mistook for giants or coming face to face with sculptures of the protagonists of the work, are just some of the Cervantine proposals offered by this city located in the heart of La Mancha.
Alcázar de San Juan also houses the original baptismal certificate of Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, a document dating from 1558 and preserved in the Parish Church of Santa María la Mayor.Show more content
The link between the city of Alcazar de San Juan and the author of Don Quixote has always been the focus of controversy and at the same time confirmed by several evidences.
In the Church of Santa María la Mayor a baptismal certificate is preserved in the name of Miguel, son of Blas de Cervantes Saavedra and Catalina López, dated November 9, 1558.
“Alonso Díaz Pajares baptized a son of Blas de Cervantes Sabedra and Catalina López who named him Miguel, his godfather (…) de Ortega, accompanied by Juan de Quirós and Francisco Almendros and the wives of the aforementioned”.
This document was found in 1748 by Blas Antonio de Nasarre y Ferriz, the King’s chief librarian between 1735 and 1751, who noted in the margin “this was the author of the Historia de don Quixote”.
Several scholars of the subject have demonstrated the connection of real characters of the city that are mentioned in Cervantes’ work, such as Gutiérrez de Quijada and Pedro Barba, from whom Don Quixote says he descends (chapter XLIX of the 1st Part) and of whom there is evidence in his list of lawsuits of the time.
Also known is the figure of Alfonso de Ayllón, a nobleman married to Teresa de Mendoza, who is related to the character of Don Quixote himself, having also lost his mind due to his eagerness to read. Upon the death of Teresa de Mendoza, her estate was inherited by her son-in-law, Pedro de Cervantes.
Similarly, there are known references to the existence of a Saavedra family in Alcázar de San Juan that resided in what was then known as Plaza de la Rubia, today Plaza de Cervantes.
The whole city is impregnated with the Cervantine spirit as can be discovered by strolling through its streets that evoke both Don Quixote’s novel and its author.
Alcázar de San Juan is part of what is known as the “Dream Route”.
“Country of Don Quixote
It is made up of four towns related to Cervantes and his work: Alcázar de San Juan, Argamasilla de Alba, Campo de Criptana and El Toboso. This route involves visiting and getting to know its streets, its people, its gastronomy, its traditions and reliving the world Cervantes knew and the places where the story of the most famous and tenacious of the knights-errant emerged.
Not to be missed: a visit to the Casa Museo del Hidalgo, an old La Mancha mansion built at the end of the 19th century. XVI that, in an interactive way, shows the life of La Mancha noblemen such as Don Alonso Quijano. It shows a facsimile copy of the baptismal certificate of Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra.