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Final resting place of Don Quixote author on show for 400th anniversary of his death

April 22, 2016 - SPAIN

The place to be when Spain commemorates the 400th anniversary of the death of Miguel de Cervantes is Madrid because the city will open the final resting place of the famed author of Don Quixote de la Mancha for the first time.

It is certain to become a centre of pilgrimage. Spain's prince of letters inspires the same reverence as William Shakespeare and Dante Alighieri, who each have a shrine. The approach of the date prodded the city to finally answer the question of Cervantes' burial place.

Excavations started in 2014. Spanish investigators used ground-penetrating radar to peer into the sub-soil beneath the Convent of the Barefoot Trinitarians, the burial location identified in Cervantes' death certificate. They found bones, and further tests established that they belonged to Cervantes, his wife and others known to have been buried with him. As he was a soldier, his remains were reburied on Jun 11, 2015, with military honors.

The Cervantes masterwork is about Don Quixote, an older man obsessed with chivalry who has read too many novels about being a knight and goes on a quest to become one, accompanied by his squire, Sancho Panza. The quest takes them through the Castilla-La Mancha region in central Spain, and the windmills and other features in the story have become major tourist attractions.

For the city of Madrid, the Cervantes tomb promises to become a tourist attraction on a similar scale.

Cervantes has such stature in Spain that the anniversary of his death is celebrated each year with a marathon reading of Don Quixote by dozens of political and cultural figures.

The date of his burial, 23 Apr, 1616, was recorded as the date of his death in some references.

Digging Up The Author Of Don Quixote (Daily Beast 29 Mar 2015)

400 years after death, Spain thinks it's found the remains of 'Don Quixote' author Cervantes (PBS 18 Mar 2015)

Don Quixote anniversary web

Cervantes chronology (Texas A&M University)

Cervantes 400 events (Spain.info)

Date written/update: 2015-11-07