While we were living the dream in Madrid, we decided to take a day trip to Salamanca. It is located 2 and a half hours outside of Madrid. The whole city is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The University of Salamanca is located here, which was founded in 1218, is the oldest university in Spain and the third oldest western university.
Just like most of the other cities here in Spain, the Roman were the first to really settle the city in the 3 Century B.C. After that that the area changed hands until the Christians finally gained control of the area.
The most important year in Salamanca history is 1218, when King Alfonso IX of León granted a royal charter to the University of Salamanca, although formal teaching had existed at least since 1130. Soon it became one of the most significant and prestigious academic centres in Europe. Today the university is one of the primary incomes for the city.
That’s a enough history for now. Time to see all the activities I have done!
Our first stop was the La Casa de Conchas. It was built in the 15th century, by Rodrigo Arias de Maldonado, a knight of the Order of Santiago de Compostela and a professor in the University of Salamanca. It gets its name form the 300 some shells (conchas) that cover the front. The shells are a symbol of the Order that Maldonado was apart of. Today the palace is used as a public library.
Next we headed to La Clerecía, which is now the home for Pontifical University. Building started in 1617 and was completed 150 years later as the Colegio Real del Espíritu Santo, of the Society of Jesus (AKA a group of Jesuits).
In Salamanca there are two cathedrals: La Cathedral Nueva y la Cathedral vieja (The new Cathedral and the old Cathedral). Surprisingly it is not two separate churches, but the new Cathedral was just built, during the 16th and 18th centuries, connected to the Old part. The Old Cathedral was built in the 12th century. We visited the new Cathedral part, and since we was the Saturday before Palm Sunday and the weekend before Easter (AKA Semana Santa) the cathedral was the place to be. On Saturday there were times were people could come to cathedral and kiss the Virgin (La Virgin) in the cathedral (Que dramatico). Also the paseos (the giant floats with saints on top that are paraded around for Semana Santa) were on display, so it was very interesting.
When we needed a lunch break, we headed to the Plaza Mayor for some food. This was built for the use of the people, just like the one in Madrid.
Here are some great observations from our time in the Plaza.
We spent a whole day in Salamanca, and then returned to Madrid! It was a great day trip, and it was great experiencing what I believe is “real” Spain.
Up next Toledo!