Salamanca is one of the most beautiful cities of Spain. It is placed in Castile and Leon region, in the central part of the Iberian Peninsula and currently its population is around 150.000 inhabitants.
The origins of the city starts in the 3rd century before Christ, when Anibal conquered Salamanca,when it was still a town . Later, the city was occupied by the Roman Empire, conquered by the Visigoths and then by the muslims. After many wars, the city was destroyed and it remained uninhabited until the 10th century, when Ramiro II started it resettlement.
In 1255 was officially founded the University of Salamanca, the oldest university of Spain.
Why do we have to visit Salamanca?
Also, the historic centre of the city is famous for its elegant stone-made buildings, as the cathedral, the university headquarters, monuments and squares.
Salamanca is surely one of the best maintained traditional cities of the country. Surely, if you visit the old centre of Salamanca, you will feel the sensation of being living in the medieval age. The city was declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 1988.
The most important buildings, squares and monuments of Salamanca
– The two Cathedrals of Salamanca: There are two cathedrals in Salamanca, the older one and the newer one. Both of them are placed nearby in the centre of the city.
The old cathedral is placed in Juan XIII Square, and was built between the 12th and 14th centuries. It has an romanic – gothic style. The new cathedral is placed in Cardenal Pla Street. It was built in the 16th Century and it has a gothic – baroque style.
– La casa de las conchas (The Shells House): This gothic palace is located near Rua Mayor (Main Street), which goes from the New Cathedral to Plaza Mayor. It was built in the first years of the 16th century.
The walls of the of the palace are covered with shells, in where a legend says that there is hidden a treasure below one of the shells. Inside the building, currently you can find a public library.
– Plaza Mayor (Main Square): Salamanca Main Square is another icon of the city. It was built in 1729, and nowadays it is the neuralgic center of the city where people meet, have a lunch or take a walk. Maybe, it can remind some people of Plaza Mayor of Madrid, which was built some years before, in 1617.
– University of Salamanca: This is the oldest university of Spain, which have been alive since 1254/1255. However, its activity started some years before, in 1130.
The university buildings, faculties and residences are located in the old city. You can see the headcuarters of the university in the photo. As a curiosity, there is a frog hidden in the front of the building. Will you be able to find it?
– Iglesia y Convento de San Esteban (San Esteben Church and Convent): This convent belongs to the Dominicans Fathers, who have been in Salamanca since the University began in 1255. The original convent was built in 1256, but it was demolished and in 1524 was constructed the actual Gothic church that you can visit nowadays.
– Casa Lis (Lis Palace): Casa Lis is a 19th century palace in where currently is placed an Art Deco museum. It is placed just in the old walls of the city, in the line which separates the old city with the newer one.
– Puente Romano (Roman bridge): As many other cities in Spain, Salamanca also has a roman bridge. The bridge crosses the Tormes River, and can bee seen from the terraces of the old city.
– Night life in Salamanca: As the city is full of students, during the scholar year there are always a lot of activities for young people. You can find a lot of shops and restaurants for tourists in the old city, and during the night you can enjoy many pubs and discotheques.
Map of Salamanca
Other cities to visit near Salamanca
– Madrid: The capital of the country is always plenty of cultural and leisure activity.
– Segovia: With its impressive roman aqueduct and its Alcazar, Segovia is a must for tourists who are visiting the central region of Spain.
– Toledo: Toledo is an historical city with a lot of ancient buildings and monuments which make a medieval atmosphere for everyone who want to visit it.
– The best cities to visit in Spain: Read here our list with the best destinations of Spain.