Things to see and do - Salamanca
Salamanca, the Castilian jewel :
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Salamanca, the Castilian jewel
Salamanca, the Castilian jewelPedestrian, 2 km, 1 day
Salamanca is one of the most beautiful cities in Spain. After exploring the famous vineyards of Ribera del Duero, near Valladolid, a visit to this famous university city, that houses perhaps the most amazing Cathedrals in the country, is a must.Customise this route and add it to My travel book
Heart of the city, Plaza Mayor is home to many typical cafés where locals and visitors mix to talk or wander. Built by Philip V from 1729 to 1755 to thank the city for its loyalty during the war of succession, it is one of the loveliest monumental squares in Spain. You can admire the galleries with arcades and pediments of the town hall and royal pavilion that carries the bust of Philip V.
Built in the 15C, the House of Shells has a wall covered by a pattern of around 400 scallop shells and a row of Isabeline windows. The house also contains a magnificent patio, that is a true Isabeline gothic treasure, with a double gallery of arcades decorated with lions and coats of arms, on the pillars in the lower part and the Italian-sculpted columns in the upper part.
On the little square of the booksellers' street stands the University. Founded in 1215, it was enlarged under the protection of the kings of Castile and by the 16C had 70 professors and 12,000 students. Its portal has the medallion of the Catholic Kings in the centre, with their crowned shields above. Inside, you will see the great hall and its tapestries from Brussels where ceremonies were held, and the patio that the classrooms overlook.
The builders of the New Cathedral luckily respected the Old Cathedral that stands by its side. It seems like a good example of a romanesque cathedral, and the lantern tower, with two levels of windows, is one of the most beautiful of its kind. The Chapel of San Martin is decorated with 13C frescos. The grand retable in the central apse is made up of 53 compartments with surprisingly fresh colours and fine detail.
It took several centuries to build, which explains the variety of styles: gothic, Renaissance and baroque. The western façade is divided by four large arches that correspond to the interior plan of the church. The northern portal is decorated with a delicate bas-relief illustrating the entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. The interior has some fine vaults and corniches with narrow pillars.
Look mainly at the Renaissance cloister and its many magnificent sculptures; symbolic animals, bodies in tortured shapes, medallions depicting majestic heads of old men and charming, feminine faces.
This building from the 16C and 17C has a style that is both gothic and Renaissance. The pinnacles of the lateral buttresses have a gothic approach, while the large façade is a remarkable example of the plateresque style. Note in the cloister the busts of the prophets in the medallions. The church is very spacious and has a large retable and is known for its Martyr of Saint Étienne by Claudio Coello.