Salamanca is a Spanish university city located near Madrid. It is also the capital of the homonymous province within the autonomous region of Castile and Leon. Not only being the home to the oldest university in Spain, Salamanca is also a cultural and tourist centre, which saw its most significant expansion no sooner than in the 16th century. It is exactly this period when numerous of Salamanca’s historical sites such as the local cathedral and Convent of St. Stephen, among others, were built.
The local university founded in 1218 is one of the oldest ones in Europe. Studying here attracted a great number of famous people like Christopher Columbus or writer Miguel de Cervantes, to name but few. The most blooming period for the university was in the 16th century when an annual number of students enrolling for studies was 6500, which is in striking contrast to the city’s population of 24,000 back then. Up to the present time, the university still has the major influence on the character and life style in the city of Salamanca.
Why to visit Salamanca?
Besides its impressive architecture, Salamanca’s superb gastronomy and taste of traditions will surely captivate you. If you happen to visit Salamanca, do not miss visiting the original historical premises of the university with its preserved lecture rooms and magnificent Salamanca Sky fresco. Experts claim that there is no better place as Salamanca if you want to discover the true essence of Spain. Its population to date is 150 thousand people, who hold to conservative catholic traditions. Siesta is kept in the afternoon, good manners include Sunday strolls in the best clothing, and people here speak the purest form of Castile Spanish. Salamanca is simply the true heart of Spain surrounded by dramatic landscape consisting of the land divided by stone walls and olive and oak groves open to paddocks for bulls.
Salamanca is one of the oldest yet the most preserved Spanish cities with unique atmosphere in the city centre. The most attractive place of interest is the baroque Casa de las Conchas cathedral decorated with shells. The Plaza Mayor square is considered the most beautiful Spanish square where medallions of famous Spaniards can be found. Furthermore, the magnificent Casa Lis house, which nowadays serves as the Art Nouveau and Art Deco style museum is worth the visit.
It is not only the visit to its restaurants but also to the local roofed market neighbouring Plaza Mayor which pays off. The renowned gourmet street is Calle Van Dyck, where locals set off for tapas. The hearty snack consists of hornazo, which is pastry filled with cheese, salami, meat, or eggs. One could not imagine the local atmosphere without ever-present drinking coffee and observing the vibrant Plaza Mayor life.
Romance and relax
Salamanca’s romantic atmosphere is enhanced by the River Tormes, and when it comes to the centre, you can relax in the local parks or in the botanical garden. There are biking trails along the river, or you can cross the Puente Romano bridge to the other side where the entire city lies open.
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