What to do in Salamanca – main highlights:
· Plaza Mayor – this large central square, bustling with cafés and restaurants, really is the heart of the city.
· The 12th century Old Cathedral (Catedral Vieja) and the New Cathedral (Catedral Nueva), built during the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries – these two cathedrals are built next to one another.
· The University – spread throughout the centre of Salamanca. Includes the Fonseca College and Anaya Palace buildings.
· The late 15th century House of Shells (La Casa de las Conchas) – a building constructed in the time of the Catholic Kings, studded with 350 sandstone shells.
· The Roman bridge over the Tormes – dating from the year 89 AD, this bridge was an important part of the Roman silver route, which ran from Mérida to Astorga.
· Convento de San Esteban – Dominican monastery with a well-set presentation of missionaries in the New World. It’s not one of the most famous attractions, so there’s a good chance you can marvel at this religious community on your own.
A little history:
Salamanca lies by the Tormes river on a plateau and is considered to be one of the most spectacular Renaissance cities in Europe. The buildings are constructed of sandstone mined from the nearby Villamayor quarry, and, as the sun begins to set, they glow gold, orange and pink. It is this radiant quality of the stones that has given Salamanca the nickname La Dorada, the golden city. [from Wikitravel]
It’s a happy and lively university town, with a rich diversity of people that offers a pleasant and enriching environment in terms of history, culture and gastronomy. The city is classified as World Heritage by UNESCO and has a multitude of historical buildings and monuments concentrated in its center.
It’s a city that during the renaissance erected a grand quantity of palaces, mansions, convents, colleges and schools where it a characteristic and local style predominated : the Plateresque.
For more on Salamanca’s history, click here.