As a result of 1948 investigations this place was proclaimed as Miguel de Cervantes' birthplace. It is located in the historic city of Alcalá de Henares. In this Museum the everyday life of a wealthy Spanish family in the 16th and 17th centuries is recreated in detail. Thus we recall the figure of Cervantes, his life, his family and atmosphere that could inspire his work.
The first space that visitors find after entering is the central courtyard, which features the original stone well that supplied the house with water for everyday use. The lower gallery is supported by eight columns with Corinthian capitals originally from the Episcopal Palace in Alcalá de Henares, while the upper gallery has wooden post and a balustrade of the same material.
It is a room dedicated to Rodrigo de Cervantes and displays all the instruments associated with his profession: sirurgical tools, spice racks, alembics, medical treatises and barber´s chair inspired by the gout stools used by Spanish monarchs. On the right wall can find some rests of frescoes, one of the evidences of the original house existence in the mid-16th century.
The dining room
It is decorated with a panel of ornamental tiles like the ones found at the Escorial monastery and features a selection of the most widely used crokery of the period: ceramics from Talavera and Puente del Arzobispo (Toledo), lusterware from Manises (Valencia) and pieces from Villafeliche (Zaragoza).
A doorway in the dinning room leads to a small kitchen with a fireplace, where the household would gather. This is decorated with utensils and arrangements of fruit and vegetables, spices typically found in Mediterranean and Islamic dishes, and large clay jars used to store water from the well and oil for cooking and lighting the rooms.
The gentelman’s bedroom
This room recreates the chamber used by the writer’s granfather, Juan de Cervantes, a graduate of law, who was actually the master of this property. An interesting collection of desks, braziers and trunks, evoking his interest for travelling, and the portrait of a mature Miguel de Cervantes are displayed.
Ladies, duennas and children’s chambers.
The women and children slept in differenciated rooms from men. This is an eminently female realm, divided into three separate spaces: the private bathing and dressing room, the women and children´s chamber, and the “estrado del cariño”, or private parlour, with the cradle evoking Cervante´s birth.
Manises ceramics was famous for its golden iridescent lusterware thanks to the technical and aesthetic achievements of pottery craftsmen whose savoir-faire was to bring together Hispano- Muslim and Christian tradition in order to get a completely new and original outcome Europe wide. Manises pot of golden lusterware.
This magnificent carved ivory and carey work illustrates on the one hand, the religious sentiment so resilient in Spanish society of the Cervantes' era, and on the other hand the refined taste of those who could afford good quality pieces. Even though it arguably seems to be rather beyond Cervantes' family means.