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Salamanca, Home to One of the Oldest Universities in Europe

Salamanca is an ancient university town situated in the west of Spain in the Autonomous Community of Castilla and León. The city is an inland destination well worth discovering for many reasons and its historic centre has been designated a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO.

 

Places to See

The Carthaginians first conquered the city in the 3rd century B.C. It then became a Roman settlement before being ruled by the Moors until the 11th century. The university, one of the oldest in Europe, reached its high point during Salamanca’s Golden Age. The city’s historic centre has important Romanesque, Gothic, Moorish, Renaissance, and Baroque monuments. The Plaza Mayor, with its galleries and arcades, is particularly impressive.

Beginning with the Roman Bridge that spans the River Tormes southwest of the city, numerous structures still testify to the two thousand year-old history of antique Salmanca. The remarkable examples include the Old Cathedral and San Marcos (12th century), the Salina and the Monterrey Palaces (16th century), and above all the Plaza Mayor (1729-1755). But the city owes its most essential features to the University.

The University

The University of Salamanca was the first to be established in Spain, and is one of the oldest in Europe. In its heyday it was one of the most highly regarded European universities. For this reason it has been attended by some of the greatest Spanish thinkers, artists and writers. In 2018 the University celebrates its 800th anniversary.

 

 

The Cathedral School of Salamanca existed as far back as the late 12th century. The oldest university building in Salamanca, now the Rectorate, is the old Hospital del Estudio, built in 1413, with the final element of the building programme begun in 1533. In the 15th century, Salamanca saw the production of the first Grammar of the Castilian Language, which would become an essential tool for its expansion throughout the world. The city is also a favourite destination for foreign students wanting to learn Spanish.

Cover image by original uploader Jentges at Luxembourgish Wikipedia, via Wikimedia Commons

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