Complutum - History and Facts | History Hit


Alcala de Henares, Community of Madrid, Spain

Complutum is an Ancient Roman site in Spain which was once an important city.

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About Complutum

Complutum is an Ancient Roman site in Spain first conquered by the Romans in the first century BC. Located around 20 miles to the northeast of the centre of Madrid, the Latin name ‘Complutum’ means ‘confluence’, where rivers’ water flow into one place.

History of Complutum

The city has been inhabited since the Bronze Age. With 10,000 inhabitants, it reached the status of municipium. After the downfall of the Roman Empire, under the Visigoths it declined, although it became a pilgrimage destination in remembrance of the Saints Justo and Pastor, who were martyred at the site.

Under Christian rule until the end of the Reconquista, the town had both a Jewish and a Moorish quarter and a renowned marketplace. Over successive centuries, it underwent periods of economic and population growth and decline. It suffered heavily during the Spanish Civil War.

Complutum today

Located within the UNESCO-listed Alcalá de Henares, approximately 30km east of Madrid, Complutum offers a number of things to see including its forum, cathedral, and Domus. One of its most famous sites is the House of Hippolytus, once part of an estate and a former college for Roman nobility.

The pride of the city is its university, which dates to 1293 and is architecturally beautiful and has served as a model for other universities around the world, such as the University of San Diego and Texas Tech University.

Getting to Complutum

From the centre of Madrid, Complutum is a 40 minute drive via the A-2 road. Equally, you can take a train from the centre of Madrid, travel 45 minutes, and alight at Alcalá De Henares.