Salamanca: Wikis


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

View of Salamanca from the Catedral Vieja


Coat of arms
Location of Salamanca in Spain
Coordinates: 40°58′N 5°40′W / 40.967°N 5.667°W / 40.967; -5.667
Country  Spain
Autonomous community  Castile and León
Province Salamanca
 - Mayor Julián Lanzarote Sastre (Partido Popular)
 - Total 38.6 km2 (14.9 sq mi)
Elevation 802 m (2,631 ft)
Population (2008)
 - Total 155,740
 - Density 4,034/km2 (10,448/sq mi)
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 - Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Area code(s) 34 (Spain) + 923 (Salamanca)
Old Cathedral of Salamanca, built in the 12th century.
New Cathedral of Salamanca, built in the 16th century.
Monterrey Palace (XVI century).

Salamanca is a city in western Spain, the capital of the province of Salamanca, which belongs to the autonomous community of Castile and Leon (Castilla y León). The Old City was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988.

It lies about 200 km west of Madrid and 100 km east of the Portuguese border. With a population around 160,000 and with its metropolitan area the population rises to more than 200.000, also it is necessary to count the resident students, it is the third most populated city in Castile and Leon, following Valladolid. Salamanca is known both for its monumental sights and the University of Salamanca, which was founded in 1218 and is the oldest university in Spain and the fifth oldest western university. With its 30,000 students, the university is, together with tourism, the economic engine of the city. Salamanca is also known for the teaching of the Spanish language;[1] in this field, Salamanca supplies 16% of the market within Spain[2] and attracts thousands of foreign students [3].



The city was founded in the pre-Ancient Rome period by the Vacceos, a Celtic tribe, as one of a pair of forts to defend their territory near the Duero river. In the third century BCE, Hannibal laid siege to the city. With the fall of the Carthaginians to the Romans, the city of Helmantica, as it was known, began to take more importance as a commercial hub in the Roman Hispania due to its favorable location. Salamanca lay on a Roman road, known as the Via de la Plata, which connected it with Emerita Augusta (present day Mérida to the south and Asturica Augusta (present-day Astorga) to the north. The Roman bridge dating to the first century, was a part of this road.

With the fall of the Roman Empire, the Alans established in Lusitania, and Salamanca was part of this region. Later the city was conquered by the Visigoths and included in their territory. The city was a already an episcopal see, and signatures of bishops of Salamanca are found in the Councils of Toledo

Salamanca surrendered to the Moors, led by Musa bin Nusair, in the year 712 CE. For years this area between the south of Duero River and the north of Tormes River, became the main battlefield against the Muslim invaders. The constant fighting of the Kingdom of León first, and the Kingdom of Castile and León later against the Caliphate depopulated Salamanca and reduced it to an unimportant settlement. After the battle of Simancas (939) the Christians resettled this area. After the capture of Toledo by Alfonso VI of Castile in 1085, the definitive resttlement of the city took place. Ramón de Borgoña, instructed by his father-in-law Alfonso VI of León, led a group of settlers of various origins in 1102.

One of the most important moments in Salamanca's history was the year 1218, when Alfonso IX of León created the University of Salamanca. Soon it became one of the most significant and prestigious academic centres in Europe.[1]

In 1551 the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V ordered an inquiry to find out if the science of Andreas Vesalius, physician and anatomist, was in line with the Catholic doctrine. Vesalius came to Salamanca that same year to appear before the board and was acquitted.

In the Peninsular War of the Napoleonic campaigns, the Battle of Salamanca, fought July 22, 1812, was a serious setback for the French, and a mighty setback for Salamanca, whose western quarter was seriously damaged. The battle which raged that day is famous as a defining moment in military history; many thousands of men were slaughtered by cannon fire in the space of only a few short hours.

Main sights

Salamanca is considered one of the most spectacular Renaissance cities in Europe. Through the centuries the sandstone buildings have gained an exquisite golden glow that has given Salamanca the nickname La Ciudad Dorada, the golden city. This golden glow is unique in Spain and is due to the "Villamayor Stone", a type of sandstone coming from a quarry situated in Villamayor, a village close to Salamanca. The Plaza Mayor is the central square in the city and is known as the living room of the Salmantinos (Salamancans). It was constructed by Andrés García de Quiñones at the beginning of the 18th century. The plaza has a capacity of 20,000 people and is surrounded by shaded arcades. The plaza was originally a venue for bullfights but is currently used primarily for concerts. The plaza is regarded as one of the finest squares in Europe. Next to Main Square we can see the Central Market of Salamanca with typical fresh products of Spain.

The old Romanesque cathedral was founded in the 12th century. The dome that covers its crossing springs from a double arcade that is daringly pierced with windows, a distant reflection of Hagia Sophia. The mass of four pinnacles at the outside corners counter the thrust of the dome's weight.

Plaza Mayor.

The thrust of the vaulting is borne by four massive pinnacles. The vault of the apse was frescoed by the Early Renaissance painter Nicolas Florentino. The adjoining "new" cathedral was built in stages from 1509 and combines Late Gothic architecture, particularly in the interior, with the Renaissance style called Plateresque. It was still being finished in 1734. In the treasury is the bronze crucifix that was carried into battle before El Cid.

The Augustinian monastery contains the tomb of the count and countess de Monterrey, by Alessandro Algardi.

Since 1996 Salamanca has been the designated site of the archive of the Spanish Civil War (Archivo General de la Guerra Civil Española). This archive was assembled by the Francoist regime, selectively obtained from the administrative departments of various institutions and organizations during the Spanish Civil War as a repressive instrument used against opposition groups and individuals. [2]. The socialist government moved the Catalan part of the archive to Barcelona in 2006 despite opposition from the local authorities and popular protests. Salamanca's mayor, Julian Lanzarote (PP), changed the name of the street where the archive is located from "Gibraltar" to "El expolio" ("the plundering") in February 2006.

Salamanca also has many museums of interest, one of which is Art Nouveau and Art Decó Museum Casa Lis.


Plateresque facade of the University of Salamanca.

In 1218, Alfonso IX of León founded the University of Salamanca. Under the patronage of the learned Alfonso X, its wealth and reputation greatly increased (1252-1282), and its schools of canon law and civil law attracted students even from the Universities of Paris and Bologna. At the height of the university, in the 16th century, one in five of Salamanca's residents was a student, and the city's fortunes depended on those of the university. About the time Christopher Columbus was lecturing there on his discoveries, Hernán Cortés took classes at Salamanca, but returned home in 1501 at age 17, without completing his course of study. (About ten years later the conquistador Francisco Vázquez de Coronado was born in Salamanca.) It was scholars of the University, heavily influenced by the Paris-based Scottish philosopher John Mair, who established in Spanish law (at the Council of Burgos, 1512) the right to life and liberty of the indigenous peoples of America - perhaps the first ever international statement of human rights. Miguel de Unamuno was a student here as was Miguel de Cervantes. Ignatius Loyola, while studying at Salamanca in 1527, was brought before an ecclesiastical commission on a charge of sympathy with the alumbrados, but escaped with an admonition.In the next generation St. John of the Cross studied at Salamanca and so did the poet and writer Mateo Aleman.

Many people continue to come from all parts of Spain to study at the University, and the students represent a significant percentage of the city's population (the University has 36000 students, approximately). The support of the student population is one of the most important economic activities in the city. These young people (also consisting of international students studying the Spanish language) provide Salamanca with a highly active night life, specially when school is in session on both weekdays and weekends. This has led Salamanca to be in the top list of cities with the highest bar per inhabitant ratios in Europe, second to Bilbao.


The city lies on several hills by the Tormes River, which is crossed by a bridge 150 m long built on 26 arches, fifteen of which are of Roman origin, while the remainder date from the 16th century.



Salamanca's climate is Continental Mediterranean, with cold winters, and hot summers softened by the altitude and dry throughout the year.

Weather data for Salamanca
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 18.0
Average high °C (°F) 7.9
Average low °C (°F) -0.7
Record low °C (°F) -13.4
Precipitation cm (inches) 3.1
Avg. precipitation days 6 6 5 7 8 5 3 2 4 7 7 7 66
Source: Agencia Española de Meteorología (1971-2000 climatology) [4]


A street of the Old city of Salamanca.


Renfe has trains to national destinations like Madrid, Barcelona, Valladolid, Zaragoza, while international destinations are Paris (via Irun), Porto and Lisbon



Old Roman Bridge (1' century A.C.)

Other roads


The airport, located in the military base of Matacán, is located about 14 km from the city. Thera are regular flights to Barcelona, Paris, and charter flights to Palma de Mallorca and the Canary Islands. In the summer there are also regular flights to Palma de Mallorca, Menorca, Gran Canaria, Málaga and Ibiza.

Public Transport

There are 13 bus lines during the day and one night line. Also, a tram line has been projected.[5]

Culture and sports

Old City of Salamanca*
UNESCO World Heritage Site

Salamanca Cathedral
State Party  Spain
Type Cultural
Criteria i, ii, iv
Reference 381
Region** Europe and North America
Inscription history
Inscription 1988  (12th Session)
* Name as inscribed on World Heritage List.
** Region as classified by UNESCO.

In 2002 Salamanca shared the title of European Capital of Culture with Bruges. Salamanca is a popular tourist destination, especially in the summer. Tourism is the primary economic activity in the city.

Salamanca offers the amenities of a larger city while retaining an intimate small town atmosphere. Since 1923, "Los Charros", formally the Union Deportiva Salamanca, have been the Salamanca football team.

Salamanca was the setting for the 2008 political thriller Vantage Point, although the movie was almost exclusively filmed in Mexico.

The classic dish of the Salamancan, known as Charreria ("peasant lands"), is a cocido, a baked casserole of garbanzo beans.

A traditional Salmantinian celebration is the Lunes de Aguas, "Water Monday", the Monday after the Sunday following Easter. Originally this served to celebrate the official allowance of the authorities for the prostitutes to return to the city after Lent and Easter. All the shops close and Salmantinos picnic in the countryside to eat a kind of pie called "hornazo".


Town twinning

See also

  • Salmantinos Spanish for 'people/things from Salamanca'; several specific uses
  • Salmanticenses It refers to people who are in some way related to the University of Salamanca. See the link for the specific meanings.
  • Salamanca Statement Refers to the UNESCO Salamanca Statement (1994) calling calls on all governments to give the highest priority to inclusive education. See inclusive school and


  1. ^ Spanish in Salamanca
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ "Monthly Averages for Salamanca, Spain". Agencia Española de Meteorología. Retrieved 2009-10-20.  
  5. ^ Presentan un estudio de viabilidad para la implantación del tranvía en Salamanca

External links

Museums (among many other without a webpage):

Electronic editions of local newspapers:

Coordinates: 40°57′42″N 5°40′03″W / 40.961612°N 5.667607°W / 40.961612; -5.667607

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Calle Compania
Calle Compania
For other places with the same name, see Salamanca (disambiguation).

Salamanca [1] is a town of around 150,000 inhabitants situated in western central Spain. It is the capital of Salamanca province, which is itself part of the autonomous region of Castile and Leon (Spanish: Castilla y León).


The city 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.

In 1218, Alfonso X of León (Alfonso The Wise) founded the University - one of the first in the world. In 1254, Pope Alexander IV called it "one of the four leading lights of the world".

In 2002 Salamanca was the European Capital of Culture.

Get In


Salamanca has no international airport, but they have a daily flights from Barcelona and Malaga with Lagun air and buses run frequently to Madrid with Auto-res (200 km away), and trains link the town with Madrid and Portugal with Renfe. Ryan Air flies to Valladolid from Brussels, Milan and London's Stansted airport, and Salamanca can be reached from there via a 1.5 hour bus ride.


Take an afternoon Eurostar from London to Paris in just 2 hours 20 minutes, then the excellent Elipsos trainhotel from Paris to Madrid overnight, followed by a train to Salamanca. The trainhotel has cosy bedrooms, a restaurant and a café-bar.

Get Around

The city is not too big to see on foot, especially the main attractions, which are all quite close to one another. For slightly longer journeys there are taxis, and numerous bus routes - tickets are cheap, and you can buy them directly from the driver on board. Salamanca city bus 1 [2] can take you between the train station and Plaza Poeta Iglesias, which is right next to Plaza Mayor

Plaza Mayor
Plaza Mayor
  • Plaza Mayor - this large central square, bustling with cafés and restaurants, really is the heart of the city. If you are going to meet anyone, you will arrange to meet them here.
  • 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.
New Cathedral Facade
New Cathedral Facade
The Sky of Salamanca
The Sky of Salamanca
  • 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.
House of Shells
House of Shells
House of Shells internal corridor
House of Shells internal corridor
  • 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.
  • The fiesta of the Virgen de la Vega, which takes place from the 8th to the 21st of September.
  • Watch Salamanca Football Club.


The combination of Castile-Leon's reputation for pure Spanish and Salamanca's reputation of learning, due to its venerable university, means that there are lots of language schools in the city that cater to those who wish to immerse themselves and learn Spanish in Spain.


Shopping is a large part of life in Salamanca. Traditional family owned stores mix with many national and international retailers throughout the city. Calle Toro, which begins at the northwest corner of the Plaza Mayor, in paticular has many options for shoppers.

The city also boasts a mall (centro commercial) which offers varity of stores and restaurants. However a car, bus or taxi ride is needed to access it.

Most stores open around 10AM, close for two or three hours during lunch time (2PM) and remain open until 9 PM. Almost all stores, including grocery stores, are closed on Sundays. There are a few convienance stores, known as 24 hour stores, which never close.


Lunch is Spain's big meal of the day, and Salamanca abides by that rule religiously. this means that restaurants will have their best food and their biggest portions anywhere from 1PM-3PM. Dinner usually happens from 8PM-11PM, and isn't really a meal as such. In spite of the many restaurants open at dinner time, one of the traditional Spanish habits is to eat tapas with friends over a glass of wine, which consists of regional appetizers served at bars, restaurants, and cafeterías. In Salamanca there's no definitive guide to tapa-ing, instead, try to stroll around the center of the town and try different places and, who knows, meet new friends.

Locals gather slightly north of city center for their nightly tapas on a street named Van Dyck. The tapas here are generally of a higher quality and a lower price of those found near the plaza.

In the summer most restaurants set tables outside for both lunch and dinner. Be forewarned that with the privladge of sitting outside you often get charged a euro or two extra per person.

Vegetarians will have to work a little bit to find food. Tortilla de patata is always a safe bet (a frittata-type thing with potato and egg) but it can get old after a while. Salamanca is atop the small portion of Spain where you can purchase jamon iberia (Iberian ham). This expensive pork is very rich, very expensive and in the opinion of most Salamancans the most delicious thing there is to eat. Meat (especially pork) finds its way into a majority of dishes here. When you're asking waiters if a dish does not have meat (carne), make sure you specify that you don't want chicken (pollo) or fish (pescado) either.

  • Restaurante Stravaganza, Calle Clavel 6, 923 614 333. One minute from the Plaza Mayor. You will find authentic Mediterranean food served in a unique atmosphere. Price range is between 20-23 euros.  edit


You can drink a Cerveza in Plaza Del Mercado in San Justo. In spring students drink Botellones in the streets (San Roman).

Try one of the following bars: (all located very close to Plaza Mayor) Camelot, Puerto de Chus, Submarino, Moderno, Cum-Laude and El Sol

Paniagua, Potemkin, Plutos, Capitan Haddock, La Posada de las Almas, Niebla, and many more bars are excellent for a very late night out!

  • Hostal Fonda Feli, Calle Libreros, 58 Tel.:0034923216010. In the very centre of the old city. 50 meters of the old university and in the shadow of the two cathedrals. Clean rooms, excellent hospitality.
  • Pension Los Angeles, Plaza Mayor 10, Tel.:0034923218166. Always dreamed about sleeping at the Plaza Mayor of Salamanca? One can not sleep more centrical, as this is really the heart of the city. Beware: This hotel is very gritty and dirty, and the bathrooms are all shared. You'll have to swap your comfort for a decent view.
  • Albergue Juvenil, C/Escoto 13-15 Tel.:0034923269141. Near the San Esteban convent. . Nice youth hostel to find some travel mates. Bad common room, but there's already a nice atmosphere in the dormitory. Check-in: 24h Check-out: 12:00. Price dormitory: €13,90
  • Hotel Artheus, P Carmelitas, 67,]. Great 4 star hotel, with decent prices (albeit, like most Spanish hotels, breakfast is not included). It is pretty well located as well.
  • NH Palacio de Castellanos, San Pablo, 58-64, +34.92.3261818 [4]. In a privileged location next to the 'Plaza del Concilio de Trento', in the heart of Salamanca's monumental and historic district, the NH Palacio de Castellanos is an exceptional hotel with excellent services and installations. There is one other NH Hotel in Salamanca [5].


Book early - that's very early - if you are planning on staying in Salamanca during Easter (Semana Santa) or during the fiesta of the Virgen de la Vega.

  • Hotel Rector, (Southern end of the main town centre). Beautiful  edit
  • Parador de Salamanca, C/ Teso de la Feria, 2. 37008, 00 34 923 19 20 82 (, fax: 00 34 923 19 20 87), [6]. Views of the Monumental Quarter. 135-145€.  edit
  • Oasis Horus Salamanca (Situated on the main route to Madrid [5m] beside some of the most important suburban commercial areas of the capital), Ctra. de Madrid 1, Santa Marta de Tormes, Salamanca, 37900, 923 201 100 (), [7]. checkin: 15:00; checkout: 12:00. From 25 EUR.  edit This should be in the Budget section. Not a splurge at all.

Stay safe

Salamanca is considered to be one of the safest cities in Spain. Violent crime is for the most part unheard of. As with the rest of Spain you should be aware of pickpockets despite it not being as common here as in the bigger cities.


While the streets are filled with international tourists and students from countries around the world most locals do not speak English. It is not uncommon to find even the hotel staff in Salamanca only able to speak Spanish to you. With that said, the locals are used to people butchering their language and are willing be patient with you.

Salamancans are very schedule oriented. They wake up, work, eat, shop and sleep at around the same time every day. Almost all stores close at exactly 2PM for a few hours so the staff can lunch. This can be hard for outsiders to adjust to but it's something you have to deal with for however long you are in town.

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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary


Wikipedia has an article on:


Proper noun




  1. A city in west Spain, capital of the province of Salamanca
  2. A province in west Spain



  • French: Salamanque f.


  • French: Salamanque f.

Simple English

Salamanca is a city in central Spain. It is the capital city of the province with the same name. The city has a very important university started in 1218. It has two cathedrals and a famous Plaza Mayor (Main Square) built in the 18th century.

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