Salamanca Travel Guide
Salamanca is the seat of erudition and an insanely historic city. It has one of the world's oldest universities as well as a fabulous old town that offers up a monumental assemblage of architectural treasures. Here are medieval palaces, churches, monasteries, convents and centuries-old buildings that collectively rise from the north bank of the Tormes River in western Spain in a burst of rust and gold.
Salamanca is situated 120 miles (200 km) west of Madrid and 50 miles (80 km) east of the border of Portugal. It is linked to Madrid, Barcelona and Zaragoza by train, as well as to Porto and Lisbon in Portugal.
Salamanca is hugely rewarding for visitors, with a wealth of museums and architectural offerings. Among the highlights are the paired cathedrals, the 12th-century Romanesque Old Cathedral and the 16th-century Gothic New Cathedral; the 15th-century Casa de las Conchas with its clamshells façade; the old Irish College; and the 16th-century Monterrey Palace that displays the plateresque style of stone carving unique to Salamanca. There's also an old Roman bridge here, dating from the 1st century BC. Still, the University of Salamanca holds the greatest interest, dating from the early 13th century and with associations to such celebrated scholars, discoverers and conquistadors of yore as Francisco de Vitoria, Christopher Columbus and Hernán Cortés. It is now the world's leading institution for teaching the Spanish language, with a 36,000-strong student population.
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