Salamanca is one of the main cities in the region of Castilla y León, and of Spain of course, thank to its rich heritage. Situated next to the Tormes river, its views are more than inspiring. The historic centre was recognized World Heritage Site in 2002 by UNESCO.
Salamanca is home of Spain's most antique university, making it particularly famous for scholars across the globe. Centuries have traveled its streets, setting a great exponent of Hispanic Renaissance, honouring its fame in the worlds of culture, wisdom and literature.
Some the musts to visit when going to Salamanca are:
Its "Plaza Mayor", during the Baroque (1729-1756) by the great architect Alberto de Churriguera, totally defining the style of his artwork. Years have also left their mark on the building as it has been subjected to various updates from the XIX Century onwards. In the plaza we can also find the "Iglesia de San Martín" (Church of Saint Martin), the "Pabellón Real" (its Royal Pavilion), the "Ayuntamiento" (city hall) of Salamanca on one of its facades and its famous literary corner Café Novelty, which gave birth to the Spanish Generation of '98.
The "Universidad de Salamanca" (University of Salamanca), was founded by "Alfonso X, El Sabio" (The Wise), in 1252, making it the first in Spain and the third in Europe. Currently it is one of the best in Spain with more than 30.000 students from endless nationalities pumping life in the city.
The "Casa de las Conchas" (1493-1517) is an urban palace of Gothic-Plateresque style which belongs to the Pimentel family. It is mainly characterised by its renaissance façade decorated with shells (nobiliary symbol of the Pimentel), fleurs-de-lis (stylised lily, symbol of the Maldonado) and various blazons and shields. Its library is also very rich and open to the public.
"Convento de San Esteban" (Saint Stephen's Priory) of 1524, placed in the "Plaza del Concilio de Trento", is a great example of plateresque architecture with some gothic elements. Once inside we can see the altarpiece of José Benito de Churriguera and, in the choir, the "Virgen con Niño" (Virgin and Child) of Rubens.
The construction of the Old Cathedral of Salamanca ("Catedral Vieja de Salamanca") began in the XII Century. But it wasn't until the XIV Century when it was finished and then founded by Bishop Jerome of Périgord. As matter of fact, its style gathers characteristics of both romanesque and gothic streams. The altarpiece is signed by the italian Delli brothers (Dello, Niccolò and Sansone) and, artistically speaking, it is one of the most important cathedrals of Spain.
Right next to the latter, we can find the second biggest cathedral in Spain: the "Catedral Nueva de Salamanca" (New Cathedral of Salamanca). When its construction started, in the XVI Century, demolishing the old one had to be considered. However (luckily for us) since it was finalised in the XVIII Century, both masterpieces have stood together in stateliness. Due to its long construction, the building has late-gothic, renaissance and baroque heritages. The interior has different chapels with different dedications and numerous important paintings from famous artists. Its facades are also very well know for including such a wide range of topics like animals or even astronauts...
Salamanca is such a beautiful city that no visitor should leave unseen after coming to Spain. For its location, the amount and greatness of its monuments and remaining artistic elements, Salamanca is a unique place and shapes one of the most amazing towns in the country.
By Elisa MP