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infoidiomas » Travel Guides » Spain » Salamanca

Salamanca

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salamanca
Salamanca is the capital of the province of the same name in the autonomous region of Castilla y León, where it is situated on the River Tormes. It is the setting for one of the oldest universities in Spain (hence the proverb “What nature doesn’t supply, Salamanca doesn’t provide”) and is known for its fine architectural heritage built of the golden stone of Villamayor. The city was founded as a Vaccean fortress in the 8th century B.C. with the name of Salmantica, and was known by Hannibal’s Carthaginian conquerors as Helmantiké. During the Roman occupation it was an important communication centre thanks to the ford that formed next to the river, which was crossed by one of the most important roads in the empire, the Vía de la Plata. The Romans were succeeded by the Alani, the Visigoths, and the Muslims, who arrived in 712 led by Musa ibn Nusair. After several Christian conquests and reconquests, Salamanca again became part of the Kingdom of Castilla y León after the battle of Simancas in 939, and acquired great cultural importance with the founding of its university in 1255 by King Alfonso IX. In 1988 it was named a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO and is one of the most important Place s in the world for the teaching of Spanish.

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Salamanca Arms

SALAMANCA

ESSENTIALS

map Salamanca
Population: 154,462 (2010)
Area: 39.34 km² (15.2 sq mi)
Density: 3,926.33 (10,448 sq mi)
Elevation: 802 m (2,631 ft)
Mayor: Partido PopularAlfonso Fernando Fernández
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  • Tourist information: Castilla & Leon Tourist Office, Rúa Mayor, 70 – Shells’ House ( 923 26 85 71). Open on summer daily 9:30 to 20:00 and on winter from Monday to Saturday 9:30 to 14:00 and Sunday 9:30 to 17:00. Salamanca Tourist Office, Plaza Mayor, 32 ( 923 21 83 42). Open from Monday to Friday 9:00 to 14:00 & 16:30 to 20:00, Saturday 10:00 to 20:00 and Sunday 10:00 to 14:00. From June 1st to September 30th there are tourist counters in bus station (Filiberto Villalobos, 71) and train station (plaza de la Estación). More information at www.salamanca.es
  • Weather: Salamanca has a continental weather with warm summers and cold winters. During the summer months, the temperature oscilates between 25 and 30º C (77 and 86º F). The winter is usually very cold, with ocasional bottoms of -10ºC.
  • month average temperature average precipitation month average temperature average precipitation
    January 4ºC / 39ºF 35.5 mm / 1.40 in July 21ºC / 70ºF 18 mm / 0.70 in
    February 6ºC / 42ºF 35.5 mm / 1.40 in August 21ºC / 69ºF 10 mm / 0.40 in
    March 7ºC / 45ºF 28 mm / 1.10 in September 18ºC / 64ºF 33 mm / 1.30 in
    April 9ºC / 49ºF 38 mm / 1.50 in October 12ºC / 54ºF 35.5 mm / 1.40 in
    May 13ºC / 56ºF 40.5 mm / 1.60 in November 7ºC / 45ºF 46 mm / 1.80 in
    June 18ºC / 64ºF 35.5 mm / 1.40 in December 4ºC / 39ºF 35.5 mm / 1.40 in

    ROAD ACCESS TO SALAMANCA:

  • Telephone: Salamanca code number is 923, even necessary for local calls. For international calls dial 00 plus the country code you wish to call. Public telephones works with coins and prepaid cards on sale at newsagents. For telephone information dial 11888 or 11822.
  • Airport: Matacan Airport – SLM ( 923 32 96 00) is 15 km from the city on kilometer 79,800 in road N-501, used both for military and charter flights. Taxi fare to the city center cost about 15 €.
  • Train Station: RENFE Station, Paseo de la Estación ( 902 24 02 02 / 923 12 02 02). There is also a halt in Av. Alamedilla, next to the city center, where some trains stop. There are 6 RENFE trains to Madrid every day (19.10 € / trip takes 2h 50min).
  • Bus Station: Av. Filiberto Villalobos, 71-85 ( 923 23 67 17). Autores buses to Madrid every 30-60 minutes from 7:00 to 22:00 to Madrid South Bus Station. Trip takes 3h 15min or 2h 30min with express service.
  • Salamanca busPublic Transport: Salamanca de Transportes – ST is the company who runs the 13 bus lines from 7:15 to 23:30 every 10-30 minutes. There are also a night service between Gran Vía-Filiberto Villalobos and Buenos Aires from 0:00 to 3:00 every hour. Single ticket cost 0.95 € and there is a bonobús rechargeable card in 5 € units, with a deposit of 2 €, which allows 10 trips with every surcharge of 5 €. A bus-ciudad card allows unlimited trips every month at 19.25 €. Information in Plaza Mercado, 7 ( 923 21 62 43) and Gran Vía, 4 ( 923 21 28 29).
  • salamanca_taxiTaxis: Daily fare applies Monday to Friday from 7:00 to 23:00, with a start fare of 2.50 € and 0.45 € each kilometre in long distance trips (over 20 km). Night fare applies Monday to Friday from 23:00 to 7:00 and 24 hours Saturday and bank days, with a start fare of 3.50 € and 0.63 € each kilometre in long distance trips. Suitcase supplement 0.40 €. Teletaxi, 923 25 00 00.
  • Driving: Street parking is controlled by parking meters which operate Monday to Friday from 9:00 to 14:00 & 16:00 to 20:00 and Saturday 9:00 to 14:00. Parking price is 0.25 €, 0.50 €, 0.70 € & 1.80 € for 22 & 43 minutes, 1 & 2 hours each.
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    GUIJUELO JAMGASTRONOMY OF SALAMANCA

    Lentils are produced in the district of La Armuña in the north-west of the province. It seems that the Romans introduced this pulse to the area, which is characterised by its flattened shape and its mottled green colour. Once they are cooked the grains do not separate from the skin. Lentils are rich in protein, fibre, iron, and calcium.

    The hornazo is a large meat pie of chorizo, ham, bacon, pork, and boiled egg. It is widely eaten on the Monday after that of Easter, the Lunes de Aguas, in memory of the times when university students went out to receive the prostitutes who were returning from the neighbouring village of Tejares.

    Farinato is a long sausage of breadcrumbs, pork fat, and spices, which is generally eaten at mid-morning. It is fried in small pieces in lard and accompanied by fried eggs.

    An indisputable point of reference of the gastronomy of Salamanca is ham from Guijuelo, whose pigs feed naturally on acorns. Sweetmeats include the upland cherries and morello cherries, the bollo maimón, wafers, eggs yolks with sugar, perrunillas, pestiños (honey-coated fritters), moritos, paciencias, chochos and turrón (nougat) from La Alberca.

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  • Emergencies: All the emergencies: 112;Medical Service: 061; Local Police: 092; National Police: 091.
  • Medical assistance: Clínic Hospital, Paseo de San Vicente, 58-182 ( 923 29 11 00). Virgen de la Vega Hospital, Paseo de San Vicente, 58 ( 923 29 12 00).
  • Pharmacies: Galván Prat, Zamora, 73 (open Monday to Sunday from 9:30 to 22:00). Amador Felipe, Plaza Liceo, 21 (open Monday to Sunday from9:15 to 22:00). Liceo, Toro, 25. Palomero-Gil, San Justo, 16. Mª José Rodríguez Torres, Prior, 12. Estella Hoyos Pura, Poeta Iglesias, 21. Alonso Burón, Paseo Canalejas, 117.
  • Restaurants: El Bardo, R1 Compañía, 8 ( bus 3, 4 & 9). Noisy restaurant located close to Casa de las Conchas and frequented by students and tourists. They offer very good tapas and “tostas”, that could be eaten at the bar or at the tables on the lower floor. Restaurante Arzobispo Fonseca, R2 Fonseca, 4 ( bus 5, 6, 10 & 11). Located in one of the reception rooms of a hall of residence, decorated with a wooden coffered ceiling. They offer daily menus menús at a reasonable price and a pretty good service too. Jero, R3 Meléndez, 11 ( bus 3, 4 & 9). The ideal Place to eat some “pinchos” and portions, with affordable prices. La Posada, R4 Aire y Azucena, 1 ( bus 2, 3, 5, 8 & 9). Castilian cuisine in a restaurant decorated in a traditional style. Don Bustos, R5 Plaza del Campillo, 18 ( bus 2, 9, 11 & 13). The place for great events and celebrations. They offer basque cuisine and great main dishes, among which the “merluza a la bilbaína” and “bacalao al pil pil” stand out. El Zaguán, R6 Ventura Ruiz de Aguilera, 7 ( bus 2, 3, 4, 5 y& 8). Specialized in grilled and sailor cuisine. Perfect for eating fishes and seafood. Restaurante Valencia, R7 Concejo, 15 ( bus 2, 3, 5 & 9). They offer traditional cuisine with a touch of modern cookery, standing out the “cocochas de merluza” the “solomillo de Morucha” and the “rabo de toro”. Bambú, R8 Prior, 4 ( bus 3, 4 & 5). A ‘must’ in the ‘tapas’ route around Salamanca. Le Sablon, R9 Espoz y Mina, 20 ( bus 2, 3, 5 & 9). Imaginative menu with french-belgian roots, suitable for a well-served, romantic dinner. Be sure to leave room for one of the chocolate desserts. La Dehesa El Oso y El Madroño, R10 Plaza del Angel, 1 ( bus 3, 4 & 5). Probably its croutons and suckling pigs are the better ones of the city. They offer Castilian cuisine with an innovative touch.
  • Cafés: La Regenta, C1 Espoz y Mina, 25 ( bus 2, 3, 5 & 9). Coffee-pub with literary ambience that helds and anual literary contest and a classic costumes party. Bécquer, C2 Plaza de San Marcos ( bus 2, 5 y 9). The variety of coffees and milkshakes, as well as the comfort of its basket chairs made this coffee a good Place for enjoying the evenings. Cum Laudem, C3 Prior, 5-7 ( bus 3, 4 & 5). Its spectacular decoration, an imitation of Salamanca’s plaza Mayor, make this place one of the essentials in Salamanca’s evenings. Its proximity to the real square and its ambientation attracts daily customers that come to have a coffee or just a nice chat. Café Las Torres, C4 Plaza Mayor, 26 ( bus 3, 4 & 5). The old café of the Petit Palace Hotel, right in the plaza Mayor, its a Place visited by culture personalities and where they frequently held gatherings and exhibitions. Novelty, C5 Plaza Mayor, 2 ( bus 3, 4 & 5). Probably one of the cafés with more history of Salamanca, due to its date of foundation in 1905. Through its pedestal tables they have passed all the famous characters which have lived in the city, being nowadays no less distinguished the customers that dare to pay its high prices. In summer they open an artisan ice cream bar that has a permanent queue.
  • Pubs & Clubs: El Gran Café Moderno, P1 Gran Vía, 75 ( bus 2, 3, 4 & 5). An original pub that recreates the square of a village. During the day it’s a quiet café where you could spend a relaxed evening, and in the night it becomes a crowdy discoteque with live performances and a lot of music from the eighties. Country, P2 Arco de la Lapa, 5 ( bus 3, 4 & 9). Another original pub decorated with mosaics which play homage to Gaudí. Specialized, as its name makes out, in rock music. Its cócteles, served in huge cups, are very refreshing in the nights of Salamanca. The Irish Rover, Rúa Antigua, 11 ( bus 3, 4 & 9). In such an international city as Salamanca, it couldn’t be missed the reference Irish pub, where Erasmus and tourists of all the world attend every night. La Hacienda, P4 Bordadores, 4 ( bus 2, 3 & 9). Decorated in imitation of a theatre. They offer commercial music, cócteles and shots for everyone. Camelot, P5 Bordadores, 3 ( bus 2, 3 & 9). Discoteque for night birds in the old dining room of what used to be a convent. Stone, iron and a sober style to dress up a five meter tall place. Klimt Gallery, P6 Iscar Peyra, 30 ( bus 2, 3 & 9). Brother Place of Camelot, located just 100 meters away. After passing under the dragon of its front, you gain access to a space consisting in three areas with diferent ambiences. Kandhavia, P7 Bermejeros, 18 ( bus 2, 3, 4 & 5). Discoteque decorated with witchcraft motifs. They also offer ballroom classes during the afternoons.
  • Gay venues: La Galería, G1 Pizarro, 49 ( bus 5, 9 & 12). Alternative ambience in the north of the city. Miranda Bar, G2 San Mateo, 5 ( bus 2, 3, 5 & 9). Nice pub located in a commercial area. They also offer tapas and portions. Sarao, G3 Paseo de los Carmelitas, 11-21 ( bus 2, 5 & 9). Its said to be the more lively gay pub in Salamanca. El Carmen, G4 Cuesta del Carmen, 9 ( bus 5, 6, 10 & 11). Pub for girls with good vibrations and a lot of spanish music.
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    AN ELUSIVE FROG

    What does everyone look for on the façade of Salamanca University? New arrivals find it hard to find the tiny frog, which is perched on one of the small skulls that finish off the right capital on the first level of the façade. According to legend the student who finds it unaided will pass his/her exams and will get married. Patience and good eyesight are necessary, but it is there.

    The plateresque façade rises above a double door of segmental arches and divides into three horizontal sections crossed by three vertical streets. The first section is characterised by a medallion dedicated to the Catholic Monarchs. The second has a coat of arms of Charles V with the two-headed eagle of the Austrias and the crowned eagle of Saint John , the symbol of Spanish unity. The third section alludes to the popes who supported the development of the Salamanca University institutions. To both the left and right of these levels there are various mythological scenes in which opposing aspects are highlighted: love or virtue to the left, deepened sensuality or vice to the right.

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    Main Square

    Main Square

    Every tour of Salamanca should start in the Plaza Mayor A1 (Main Square), located at the heart of the city where all the main streets converge. Designed by the architect Alberto Churriguera, construction started on the Plaza back in 1755. The Plaza’s major buildings are the Ayuntamiento A2 (Salamanca Town Hall) and the Pabellón Real (Royal Pavillion), located just above the Arco del Toro A3 (Bull Arch). Leaving the Plaza towards the south and taking the Rúa Mayor, you will reach the Casa de las Conchas A4 (House of Shells) on the corner of the Calle de la Compañía. Built in 1493 for Rodrigo Maldonado, the building is a mix of Gothic and Renaissance architectural styles. Maldonado’s son had the building decorated with shells symbolic of his wife’s lineage ( bus 3, 4 & 9; Monday to Friday from 9:00 to 21:00, Saturday and Sunday 9:00 to 14:00 & 17:00 to 20:00; free). Located on a street that runs parallel to the Rúa Mayor, the Calle de San Pablo, is the Palacio de la Salina A5 (Salina Palace), a building from the XVI century which owes its name to the fact that for many years it was used as a storage facility for salt, in Spanish sal ( daily from 11:00 to 23:00; free).

    Opposite the Casa de las Conchas is the Holy Spirit church, better known as the Clerecía A6, which was built by Juan Gómez de Mora in 1617 for the Jesuit order, and next is the Universidad Pontificia A7 (Pontifical University), a building with a baroque cloister built on the site which formerly housed the Royal College of the Jesuit Order ( Monday to Friday from 10:30 to 12:45 & 17:00 to 18:30, Saturday 10:00 to 13:20 & 17:00 to 19:15 and Sunday 10:00 to 13:00; 3 €). Returning to the Rúa Mayor and following it to the end, you will find the Plaza de Anaya (Anaya Square). Located along the sides of this square are some of the city’s most representative buildings, such as the Colegio de Anaya A8 (Anaya College), with its neoclassical façade, Iglesia de San Sebastián A10 (Saint Sebastian’s Church), designed by Churriguera; the New Cathedral, A10 designed by Juan Campero in 1513 ( daily from 9:00 to 19:30; free); and the Old Cathedral A11, which with its remarkable Torre del Gallo (Rooster Tower) was built in a late Romanesque style starting in 1140 (the entrance for the Old Cathedral is located inside the New Cathedral; daily from 10:00 to 19:30; 4.75 €).

    Anaya College

    Anaya College

    In the square that runs between the two cathedrals, known as the Patio Chico, concerts and theatrical events are held during the summer. Next -in calle del Expolio, 14- is the Art Nouveau and Art Decó Museum A12 ( bus 3, 4 & 9; Tuesday to Friday from 11:00 to 14:00 & 17:00 to 21:00, Saturday & Sunday 11:00 to 21:00; adults 3 €, students 2 €, free on Thursday from 11:00 to 14:00); the Palacio Episcopal A13 (Bishop’s Palace), located in the Plaza de Juan XXIII; and the University of Salamanca A14, alma mater of such personalities as Miguel de Unamuno, Fray Luis de León, Jovellanos, Meléndez Valdés and Tierno Galván, among others. The University is famous for its monumental façade, the inner cloister, the old library and the classrooms named after Fray Luis de León and Unamuno ( Monday to Friday from 9:30 to 13:30 & 16:00 to 19:00, Saturday 9:30 to 13:30, Sunday 10:00 to 13:00; adults 4 €, students 2 €, free on Monday morning).

    Opposite the University -in Patio de Escuelas, 2- is the Salamanca Museum or Museo de Bellas Artes A15 (Fine Arts Museum), housed in a Gothic-Renaissance building ( Tuesday to Saturday from 10:00 to 14:00 & 16:00 to 19:00, Sunday 10:00 to 14:00; 1.20 €), and -in Libreros, 25- the Casa Museo de Unamuno A16 (Unamuno House & Museum), located in the building where the former Univeristy president (1900-1914) used to live ( Tuesday to Friday from 9:30 to 13:30 & 16:00 to 18:00, Saturday & Sunday 10:00 to 13:30; adults 3 €, students 1.50 €).

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    Cueva de Salamanca

    THE DEVIL AT MASS

    The Cave of Salamanca

    The old church of San Ciprián or San Cebrián (in the Plaza de Carvajal) is mentioned in a legend that has been disseminated thanks to the works of Cervantes, Calderón de la Barca, and Walter Scott, among others. According to the story, in the guise of a verger Satan taught occultism classes in the vestry to seven pupils for seven years, at the end of which time one of them had to stay in his service for life.

    The legend owes its origin to the parish priest Clemente Potosí, who secretly taught astrology and palmistry classes. As the subject of study was never revealed, the legend arose in the belief that there were seven pupils; this number has mystical implications. The students had to pay for the classes, or rather one of their number paid for them all if chosen by drawing lots. If the one who had to pay could not meet the debt, he had to be shut up in the cave. This happened to Enrique de Aragón, the future Marqués de Villena. Young Enrique did not resign himself to his fate and devised a strategy for escaping. In order to do so he hid inside a vat covered with various materials, which he tried to leave intact so as not to be discovered. When the master returned to the vestry and found it empty, he left in a fright without closing the door, which allowed the Marqués to escape.

    Some say that the cave is the entrance to a labyrinth of tunnels that run beneath the subsoil of the city. The church was demolished in 1580, although its restoration began anew in the mid 20th century. Visitors can climb the Torre del Marqués de Villena and contemplate the walls that surrounded it. The fame of the legend was so great that in Latin America caves or hidden Place s where palmistry is practised are known as “salamancas”.

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    Cathedral entrance

    Cathedral entrance

    After crossing the Puerta del Río y Calvario (River Gate) towards the south, you’ll get to the Roman Bridge A17, part of the famous Silver Route from Emerita Augusta to Astorga during emperor Trajano. Fifteeen of the bridge’s arches date from the period of Roman occupation. Next at the right -in plaza del Mercado Viejo- the Museo de la Historia de la Automoción A18 (Automobile History Museum) offers a big collection of old vehicles ( bus 1, 6, 9 & 13; Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 to 14:00 & 17:00 to 20:00; adults 3 €, students 2 €). Heading back towards the Cathedral is the Huerto de Calixto y Melibea A19, a garden where tradition tells us the death of the two unfortunate lovers took place ( daily from 10:00 till late; free); the Cueva de Salamanca A20 (Salamanca Cave) -in Cuesta de Carvajal- the site of a greatest Salamanca legend; and also the Marques de Villena Tower A21, with walls that are part of the old medieval wall that once surrounded the city (see side note; bus 3, 4 & 9; Sunday to Thursday from 10:00 to 22:00, Friday & Saturday 9:30 to 23:00; free).

    Located east, in Plaza del Concilio de Trento are the main convents in Salamanca: Convento de las Dueñas A22 is a convent built in the XV century atop a Mudejar palace ( daily from 11:00 to 12:45 & 16:30 to 18:45; adults 2 €, students 1 €); the Dominican Convent and Church of San Esteban A23 offers a renacentist and barroque style ( daily from 910:00 to 13:15 & 16:00 to 19:15; adults 3 €, students 2 €).

    Roman bridge

    Roman bridge

    Back at the Casa de las Conchas, if you head down the Calle Compañía you will find the Solís and Maldonado manor homes, both of which represent noble residences of the XVI century; San Benito church A24 and the Agustinas convent A25, adjacent to the church of Purísima by the Napolitan architect Bartolomeo Pichatti. Then the Palacio de Monterrey A26, built by Gil de Hontañón and Pedro de Ybarra during the XVI century. Next is the Capilla de los Capuchinos (Capuchine Chapel), with its baroque façade; and further up the street -in plaza de Fonseca, 4- the Colegio del Arzobispo Fonseca A27 (Archbishop Fonseca College), which during the XVI century was used as a center for Irish noble students to stay in Salamanca ( bus 5, 6, 10 & 11; daily from 10:00 to 13:30 & 16:00 to 19:00; adults 2 €, students 1 €). Just opposite are the San Francisco gardens A28, with the Veracruz chapel and the Convento de Santa Ursula A29 ( Tuesday to Sunday from 11:00 to 13:00 & 16:30 to 18:00; 2 €). Again towards the south, you will find the modern Convention Center A30, crowned by an emblematic concrete dome designed by Juan Navarro Baldeweg.

    surroundings

    Ciudad Rodrigo Cathedral

    Ciudad Rodrigo Cathedral

    CIUDAD RODRIGO

    If we take the A-62 dual carriageway west out of Salamanca, after 87 kilometres we come to Ciudad Rodrigo, the historic city centre of which has been declared of historical and artistic interest thanks to its rich heritage of both religious and civil buildings. Highlights include the city walls built in the 12th century with the Puerta del Sol and the Puerta de Santiago, and the Plaza Mayor with buildings such as the Casa del Primer Marqués de Cerralbo, the Town Hall, and the Cathedral, the construction of which dates from the 12th century. Other notable monuments include the Puerta de las Cadenas, the Capilla Mayor (Main Chapel) with a vault by Rodrigo Gil de Hontañón, and the Diocesan Museum. The Herrera-style Capilla del Marqués de Cerralbo, which is near the Cathedral, preserves important altarpieces in its interior.