Salamanca information

Introduction to the Province of Salamanca
Salamanca’s university was founded in the early 13th Century, making it one of the oldest in the world and a highly respected seat of learning. Salamanca is a beautiful city and its buildings that are predominantly built of local golden sandstone give the place a warm, welcoming glow. The old city was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988.

The Plaza Mayor is as fine a place as any to begin an exploration of Salamanca, being pretty much at the centre of the old city, with all major roads radiating outwards from it. The Plaza Mayor is the hub of life in the city and is stunning at night, when the facades around it are lit up. Visit the oldest café in town, the Café Novelty here. Between the Plaza Mayor and the River Tormes, on which Salamanca was founded, are most of the city’s monumental sites and places of interest.

Salamanca has two cathedrals, one old and one new, the newer one being built to prop up the old one in the 16th Century. The city’s famed University is next to the cathedrals. You can visit the old lecture rooms inside, which are arranged around a courtyard. If you can spot the frog that is carved into the façade of the university, it is said that you will be married within the year. Indeed, any of the University’s college buildings that are open to the public are worth visiting.

Be sure also to visit the Convento de la Dueñas with its beautiful cloisters and wild carvings, the Convento de Santa Clara which has perhaps the most stunning interior of any ecclesiastical building in Spain, the Capilla de la Vera Cruz which has an astounding collection of art, the Casa de las Conchas whose façade is decorated with hundreds of scallop shell carvings and the impressive Monterrey Palace. Salamanca also has a fine Museum of Art Nouveau and Art Deco.

Finally, wend your way down to the Church of Santiago beside the River Tormes and admire the Puente Romano (Roman Bridge) that spans the shallow waters of the river and turn around and admire the view back up to Salamanca city.

Around Salamanca City and Beyond
If you can tear yourself away from the beautiful city of Salamanca, the remainder of the province contains some places of interest and natural beauty too.

Ciudad Rodrigo is an unspoilt, walled town, full of fine Renaissance architecture. From its castle you will be rewarded with a lovely view of Portugal. The Gothic cathedral, the Palacio de los Castro and the Palacio de Moctezuma are all worth a look.

The Natural Park of Sierra Peña de Francia provides some great walking opportunities and the stunning village of La Alberca is a good starting point for an exploration of this area. From here you can climb to the summit of the Peña de Francia where, at the top, you will find the Monasterio Peña de Francia, occupied by Benedictine monks during the summer.

From La Alberca, the National Reserve of the Valle de Las Batuecas is also within easy striking distance. This is a stunning area of natural beauty where you are likely to spot mountain goats, deer, eagles and vultures.

Bejar is another attractive town, famed for its woven woollen products such as capes and blankets. In the Sierra de Bejar, skiing is possible in the winter months.

The Gastronomy of Salamanca
Salamanca’s typical cuisine is influenced by the geographical diversity of its lands. A special breed of cow here provides the region’s famous beef known as “Morucha” and pork, partridge, hare and dishes using goat are common. The many types of wild mushrooms (Setas) found here are also used.

The typical Salamanca dish of Charreria is a slow cooked casserole of meat and chickpeas. Hornazo Charro is a sort of pie, made with a breadlike dough encasing a filling of pork, chorizo sausage, ham and hard boiled eggs. Farinato is a white sausage meat that is typically served with a fried egg. Limon de Ciudad Rodrigo is a cold platter of cured meats, chorizo, eggs and lemon. Patatas Meneas is a fried dish of potatoes, ham and paprika. Toston is a whole roast suckling pig, not for the faint hearted!

Look out for some of Salamanca’s most famous cheese – Hinojosa de Duero. For the sweet-toothed there are the Almendras Garrapiñadas (toffee encased almonds) from Alba, the Bollo Maimon lemon-flavoured sponge cake and the Huesillos (fried pastries) from Bejar. And finally, don’t forget to try the wine from the Sierra de Salamanca region.


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