Old City of Salamanca
Chief city of the Province of Salamanca.
Location and siteLocated northwest of Madrid, Salamanca was built on three small hills on the right bank of the Tormes River.
A number of arteries radiate outward, in an irregular fashion, from the Plaza Mayor, the large four-sided central square of the old city. Around this nucleus is a maze of secondary streets and dead-end streets, some of which converge at secondary nodes.
Salamanca is a city of golden ochre towers and dwellings embellished with ironwork and surmounted with tile roofs. The urban landscape includes a happy marriage of Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque monumental architecture. The 18th century was particulary rich in terms of its Baroque realisations, including the dazzling Plaza Mayor, with its galleries and arcades decorated with medallions.
The Plaza Mayor of Salamanca is "a unique artistic achievement in Baroque art. Begun in 1729 according to plans drawn up by Alberto de Churriguera, and finished in 1755 by André Garcia de Quinones, and with contributions from Nicolas de Churriguera and José de Lara de Churriguera, it is one of the most important urban ensembles of 18th-century Europe." (I) "Salamanca is one the essential centres of the art of the dynasty of architects, decorators and sculptors from Catalonia, the Churriguera. The 'churrigueresque' style exerted considerable influence in the 18th century not only in the Iberian peninsula but also in countries of Latin America." (II) The University of Salamanca, which was "one of the best in Europe" around 1250, "conserves an admirable architectural heritage [...]" and "forms a group of exceptional coherence" at the heart of the old city. (IV)
- In the 8th century, after the Cathaginians took over Salmantica from the Iberians, the town known today as Salamanca was occupied by the Romans, the Visigoths and the Moors.
- At the beginning of the Reconquest in 1085, it was taken over by Alfonso VI, who reconstructed it. At that time, it became the seat of a Bishop's Palace.
- At the beginning of the 13th century, the school-cathedral was transformed into a "studium generale;" this was the "de facto" foundation of the University.
- The 16th century corresponded to a heyday in the history of Salamanca. The University was very famous and the construction of its principal building, undertaken in the 14th century, was completed thanks to the Catholic Kings; its facade was rich with sculpture. Besides the University, a number of Renaissance colleges were constructed.
|Sr. D. Alfonso Fernández Mañueco|
|Ayuntamiento de Salamanca|
Plaza Mayor, 1
37002 Salamanca, España