SALAMANCA

Spain

Salamanca is an ancient Celtic city in northwestern Spain that is the capital of the Province of Salamanca in the community of Castile and León. Its Old City was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988. With a metropolitan population of 228,881 in 2012 according to the National Institute of Statistics (INE), Salamanca is the second most populated urban area in Castile and León, after Valladolid(414,000), and ahead of Leon(187,000) and Burgos(176,000).

Info Salamanca

introduction

Salamanca is an ancient Celtic city in northwestern Spain that is the capital of the Province of Salamanca in the community of Castile and León. Its Old City was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988. With a metropolitan population of 228,881 in 2012 according to the National Institute of Statistics (INE), Salamanca is the second most populated urban area in Castile and León, after Valladolid(414,000), and ahead of Leon(187,000) and Burgos(176,000).

It is one of the most important university cities in Spain and supplies 16% of Spain's market for the teaching of the Spanish language. Salamanca attracts thousands of international students, generating a diverse environment.

It is situated approximately 200 kilometres (120 miles) west of the Spanish capital Madrid and 80 km (50 mi) east of the Portuguese border. The University of Salamanca, which was founded in 1218, is the oldest university in Spain and the fourth oldest western university, but the first to be given its status by the Pope Alexander IV who gave universal validity to its degrees. With its 30,000 students, the university is, together with tourism, a primary source of income in Salamanca.

info
POPULATION : city:154,462

metropolitan:213,399

FOUNDED : 
TIME ZONE :• Time zone CET (UTC+1)
• Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
LANGUAGE :
RELIGION :
AREA : 38.6 km2 (14.9 sq mi)
ELEVATION : 802 m (2,631 ft)
COORDINATES : 40°58′N 5°40′W
SEX RATIO : Male: 49.4%
 Female: 50.6%
ETHNIC :
AREA CODE : 923
POSTAL CODE :
DIALING CODE : +34 923
WEBSITE :  www.salamanca.es

Tourism

Salamanca is a town of around 150,000 inhabitants situated in western central Spain. It is the capital of Salamanca province, which is itself part of the autonomous region of Castile and Leon (Spanish: Castilla y León). The Romanesque, Gothic, Moorish, Renaissance and Baroque monuments in Salamanca's historic centre were added to the UNESCO world heritage list in 1988.


Understand

The city lies by the Tormes river on a plateau and is considered to be one of the most spectacular Renaissance cities in Europe. The buildings are constructed of sandstone mined from the nearby Villamayor quarry, and, as the sun begins to set, they glow gold, orange and pink. It is this radiant quality of the stones that has given Salamanca the nicknameLa Dorada, the golden city.

In 1218, Alfonso X of León (Alfonso The Wise) founded the University - one of the first in the world. In 1254, Pope Alexander IV called it "one of the four leading lights of the world".

In 2002 Salamanca was the European Capital of Culture.


Shopping

Shopping is a large part of life in Salamanca. Traditional family owned stores mix with many national and international retailers throughout the city. Calle Toro, which begins at the northwest corner of the Plaza Mayor, in particular has many options for shoppers.

The city also boasts a mall (centro commercial) which offers variety of stores and restaurants. However a car, bus or taxi ride is needed to access it.

Most stores open around 10AM, close for two or three hours during lunch time (2PM) and remain open until 9 PM. Almost all stores, including grocery stores, are closed on Sundays. There are a few convenience stores, known as 24 hour stores, which never close.

Every Sunday an out-door market, known as the Rastro, erects where locals and tourists alike shop for assorted products: clothes, jackets, hats, bags, jewelry, watches, perfumes, colognes, and other accessories. The Rastro is located on Av. de la Aldehuela, about 2 miles west of Plaza Mayor, roughly a 20 minute walk.

History

The city was founded in the pre-Ancient Rome period by the Vaccaei, aCeltic tribe, or the Vettones, a Celtic or pre-Celtic indo-European tribe, as one of a pair of forts to defend their territory near the Duero river. In the 3rd century BC, Hannibal laid siege to the city. With the fall of the Carthaginians to the Romans, the city of Helmantica, as it was known, began to take more importance as a commercial hub in the Roman Hispania due to its favorable location. Salamanca lay on a Roman road, known as the Vía de la Plata, which connected it with Emerita Augusta(present day Mérida) to the south and Asturica Augusta (present-day Astorga) to the north. Its Roman bridge dates from the 1st century, and was a part of this road.

With the fall of the Roman Empire, the Alans established in Lusitania, and Salamanca was part of this region. Later the city was conquered by the Visigoths and included in their territory. The city was already an episcopa lsee, and signatures of bishops of Salamanca are found in the Councils of Toledo.

Salamanca surrendered to the Moors, led by Musa bin Nusair, in the year 712 AD. For years, this area between the south of Duero River and the north of Tormes River, became the main battlefield between the Christian kingdoms and the Muslim Al-Andalus rulers. The constant fighting of theKingdom of León first, and the Kingdom of Castile and León later against the Caliphate depopulated Salamanca and reduced it to an unimportant settlement. After the battle of Simancas (939) the Christians resettled this area. After the capture of Toledo by Alfonso VI of León and Castile in 1085, the definitive resettlement of the city took place. Raymond of Burgundy, instructed by his father-in-law Alfonso VI of León, led a group of settlers of various origins in 1102.

One of the most important moments in Salamanca's history was the year 1218, when 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.

During the 16th century, the city reached its height of splendor (around 6,500 students and a total population of 24,000). During that period, the University of Salamanca hosted the most important intellectuals of the time; these groups of mostly-Dominican scholars were designated the School of Salamanca. The juridical doctrine of the School of Salamanca represented the end of medieval concepts of law, and founded the fundamental body of the ulterior European law and morality concepts, including rights as a corporeal being (right to life), economic rights (right to own property) and spiritual rights (rights to freedom of thought and rights related to intrinsic human dignity).

In 1551, the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V ordered an inquiry to find out if the science of Andreas Vesalius, physician and anatomist, was in line with Catholic doctrine. Vesalius came to Salamanca that same year to appear before the board and was acquitted.

Salamanca suffered the general downturns of the Kingdom of Castile during the 17th century, but in the 18th century it experienced a rebirth. In this period, the new baroque Cathedral and main square (Plaza Mayor) were finished.

In the Peninsular War of the Napoleonic campaigns, the Battle of Salamanca, fought on July 22, 1812, was a serious setback for the French, and a mighty setback for Salamanca, whose western quarter was seriously damaged. The battle which raged that day is famous as a defining moment in military history; many thousands of men were slaughtered by cannon fire in the space of only a few short hours.

During the devastating Spanish Civil War (1936–39) the city quickly went over to the Nationalist side and was used as the de facto capital. Franco was named Generalissimo on 21 September 1937 while at the city, and in the same year was formed, by a decree signed in the city, the official fascist party that ruled Spain until the end of the Francoist regime, officially suppressing any other political party. The Nationalists soon moved most of the administrative departments to Burgos, which being more central was better suited for this purpose. However, some administrative departments, Franco's headquarters (located at the Palacio Episcopal, next to the Old Cathedral) and the military commands stayed in Salamanca, along with the German and Italian fascist delegations, making it the de facto Nationalist capital and centre of power during the entire civil war. Like much of fervently Catholic and largely rural Leon and Old Castile regions, Salamanca was a staunch supporter of the Nationalist side and Francisco Franco's regime for its long duration.

In 1988, the old city was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In 1998, it was declared a European Capital of Culture for year 2002 (shared with Bruges). During 14 and 15 October 2005, it hosted the XV the Ibero-American Summits of Heads of State and Governments.

Since 1996, Salamanca has been the designated site of the archives of the Spanish Civil War (Archivo General de la Guerra Civil Española). The original documents were assembled by the Francoist regime, selectively obtained from the administrative departments of various institutions and organizations during the Spanish Civil War as a repressive instrument used against opposition groups and individuals. The socialist government moved the Catalan part of the archive to Barcelona in 2006 despite opposition from the local authorities and popular protests.

Climate

Salamanca has a cold semi-arid climate (BSk), bordering on awarm-summer Mediterranean climate (Csb) according to the Köppen climate classification, with cool winters, and warm dry summers due to the altitude.

Climate data for Salamanca

MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Record high °C (°F)18.0
(64.4)
22.5
(72.5)
24.7
(76.5)
29.8
(85.6)
34.7
(94.5)
37.0
(98.6)
39.8
(103.6)
39.6
(103.3)
37.5
(99.5)
30.6
(87.1)
24.5
(76.1)
19.7
(67.5)
39.8
(103.6)
Average high °C (°F)8.6
(47.5)
11.2
(52.2)
14.9
(58.8)
16.5
(61.7)
20.6
(69.1)
26.6
(79.9)
30.0
(86)
29.5
(85.1)
25.1
(77.2)
18.9
(66)
12.8
(55)
9.4
(48.9)
18.7
(65.7)
Daily mean °C (°F)4.0
(39.2)
5.5
(41.9)
8.3
(46.9)
10.1
(50.2)
14.0
(57.2)
18.8
(65.8)
21.5
(70.7)
21.1
(70)
17.6
(63.7)
12.6
(54.7)
7.9
(46.2)
4.9
(40.8)
12.2
(54)
Average low °C (°F)−0.7
(30.7)
−0.2
(31.6)
1.7
(35.1)
3.8
(38.8)
7.3
(45.1)
11.0
(51.8)
12.9
(55.2)
12.6
(54.7)
10.0
(50)
6.4
(43.5)
2.4
(36.3)
0.4
(32.7)
5.6
(42.1)
Record low °C (°F)−13.4
(7.9)
−10.5
(13.1)
−8.2
(17.2)
−5.0
(23)
−1.4
(29.5)
3.0
(37.4)
5.8
(42.4)
4.5
(40.1)
1.4
(34.5)
−4.8
(23.4)
−7.6
(18.3)
−9.6
(14.7)
−13.4
(7.9)
              
Source: Agencia Española de Meteorología 

Geography

The city lies on several hills by the Tormes River, which is crossed by a bridge 150 m long built on 26 arches, fifteen of which are of Roman origin, while the remainder date from the a 16th-century reconstruction after a flood.

Economy

The city's economy is dominated by the university and tourism, but other sectors including agriculture and livestock rearing along with construction and manufacturing are also significant. Not surprisingly, in December 2007 83% of the working population, equivalent to 55,838, were employed in the service sector.


Industry

Industrial activity accounted for 5% of the working population, or 3,340 workers employed over 360 businesses. Two of the largest businesses, both of them numbered among the largest 100 enterprises in the region, are the veterinary vaccine manufacturer "Laboratorios Intervet", and the fertilizer specialist manufacturers S.A. Mirat, which is the city's oldest industrial company, having been established originally as a starch factory in 1812.

Prices in Salamanca

PRICES LIST - EUR

MARKET / SUPERMARKET

Milk1 liter€0.85
Tomatoes1 kg€1.55
Cheese0.5 kg€5.40
Apples1 kg€1.65
Oranges1 kg€1.38
Beer (domestic)0.5 l€0.80
Bottle of Wine1 bottle€5.00
Coca-Cola2 liters€1.32
Bread1 piece€0.60
Water1.5 l€0.50

PRICES LIST - EUR

RESTAURANTS

Dinner (Low-range)for 2€23.00
Dinner (Mid-range)for 2€39.00
Dinner (High-range)for 2
Mac Meal or similar1 meal€6.70
Water0.33 l€1.25
Cappuccino1 cup€1.65
Beer (Imported)0.33 l€2.75
Beer (domestic)0.5 l€2.05
Coca-Cola0.33 l€1.78
Coctail drink1 drink€5.30

PRICES LIST - EUR

ENTERTAINMENT

Cinema2 tickets€12.00
Gym1 month€33.00
Men’s Haircut1 haircut€8.00
Theatar2 tickets€38.00
Mobile (prepaid)1 min.€0.07
Pack of Marlboro1 pack€5.00

PRICES LIST - EUR

PERSONAL CARE

Antibiotics1 pack
Tampons32 pieces€3.60
Deodorant50 ml.€2.70
Shampoo400 ml.€3.50
Toilet paper4 rolls€1.60
Toothpaste1 tube€2.50

PRICES LIST - EUR

CLOTHES / SHOES

Jeans (Levis 501 or similar)€78.00
Dress summer (Zara, H&M)1€28.00
Sport shoes (Nike, Adidas)1€79.00
Leather shoes1€88.00

PRICES LIST - EUR

TRANSPORTATION

Gasoline1 liter€1.27
TaxiStart€3.20
Taxi1 km€1.40
Local Transport1 ticket€1.10

Transportation - Get In

Transportation - Get In

By plane

Salamanca has no international airport, but they have a daily flights from Barcelona with Air Nostrum.

Ryanair flies to Valladolid from Barcelona El Prat and Lanzarote.

Transportation - Get In

By Train

The Salamanca train station is situated to the northeast of the city centre. It has no left luggage facilities. The bus station however, does (see below). Trains link the town with Madrid and Portugal with Renfe.

Transportation - Get In

By Bus

Buses run frequently to/from Madrid (about 200 km), including buses direct from Barajas Airport with Avanza. The bus station is situated to the northwest of the city centre. It's the only station in town which has left luggage facilities.

Transportation - Get In

By Car

Distances to/from Salamanca: Madrid 205 km, Avila 100 km, Caceres 235 km, Valladolid 115 km.


Transportation - Get Around

The city is not too big to see on foot, especially the main attractions, which are all quite close to one another. For slightly longer journeys there are taxis, and numerous bus routes - tickets are cheap, and you can buy them directly from the driver on board. Salamanca city bus 1 [www] can take you between the train station and Plaza Poeta Iglesias, which is right next to Plaza Mayor.

Hotels

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Hotels

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Shopping

Shopping is a large part of life in Salamanca. Traditional family owned stores mix with many national and international retailers throughout the city. Calle Toro, which begins at the northwest corner of the Plaza Mayor, in particular has many options for shoppers.

The city also boasts a mall (centro commercial) which offers variety of stores and restaurants. However a car, bus or taxi ride is needed to access it.

Most stores open around 10AM, close for two or three hours during lunch time (2PM) and remain open until 9 PM. Almost all stores, including grocery stores, are closed on Sundays. There are a few convenience stores, known as 24 hour stores, which never close.

Every Sunday an out-door market, known as the Rastro, erects where locals and tourists alike shop for assorted products: clothes, jackets, hats, bags, jewelry, watches, perfumes, colognes, and other accessories. The Rastro is located on Av. de la Aldehuela, about 2 miles west of Plaza Mayor, roughly a 20 minute walk.

Restaurants

Lunch is Spain's big meal of the day, and Salamanca abides by that rule religiously. This means that restaurants will have their best food and their biggest portions anywhere from 1PM-3PM.

Dinner usually happens from 8PM-11PM, and isn't really a meal as such. In spite of the many restaurants open at dinner time (with a full menu), one of the traditional Spanish habits is to eat tapas with friends over a glass of wine, which consists of regional appetizers served at bars, restaurants, and cafeterías. In Salamanca there's no definitive guide to tapa-ing, instead, try to stroll around the center of the town and try different places and, who knows, meet new friends.

Locals gather slightly north of city center for their nightly tapas on a street named Van Dyck. The tapas here are generally of a higher quality and a lower price of those found near the plaza. Almost every street out from the center will have at least one small bar, and many of them will serve tapas. The price difference between having or not a tapa with your drink is negligible (around 2€ for each beer/wine+tapa, 20-30 cts less only the beer) so go on a try them!

Popular tapas are any sort of roasted pork parts: ribs (costilla), sausage (chorizo), ham (jamon), bacon (panceta) or face (jeta). Try the "pincho moruno", a brochette of pork pieces marinated in paprika and garlic. A local speciality (if you find it appealing) is "chanfaina" a spicy rice dish with liver and/or blood that is served in many bars as a tapa on Sundays.

In the summer most restaurants set tables outside for both lunch and dinner. Be forewarned that with the privilege of sitting outside you often get charged a euro or two extra per person.

Salamanca is atop the small portion of Spain where you can purchase jamon iberia (Iberian ham). This expensive pork is very rich, very expensive and in the opinion of most Salamancans the most delicious thing there is to eat.

Vegetarians will have to work a little bit to find food. Tortilla de patata is always a safe bet (a frittata-type thing with potato and egg) but it can get old after a while. Meat (especially pork) finds its way into a majority of dishes here. When you're asking waiters if a dish does not have meat (carne), make sure you specify that you don't want chicken (pollo) or fish (pescado) either.

Sights & Landmarks

  • Plaza Mayor - this large central square, bustling with cafés and restaurants, really is the heart of the city.
  • The 12th century Old Cathedral(Catedral Vieja) and the New Cathedral (Catedral Nueva), built during the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries - these two cathedrals are built next to one another.
  • The late 15th century House of Shells (La Casa de las Conchas) - a building constructed in the time of the Catholic Kings, studded with 350 sandstone shells.
  • The Roman bridge over the Tormes - dating from the year 89 AD, this bridge was an important part of the Roman silver route, which ran from Mérida to Astorga.
  • Convento de San Esteban - Dominican monastery with a well-set presentation of missionaries in the New World. It's not one of the most famous attractions, so there's a good chance you can marvel at this religious community on your own. Impressive church.

Villages around Salamanca

There are some interesting villages around Salamanca. Béjar is a town of around 16,000 inhabitants, which offers:

  • Castañar bullfighter arena - The oldest bullfighting arena in Spain
  • La Sierra de Béjar - A beautiful natural and unspoiled environment
  • El bosque - A Renaissance gardens
  • La muralla - An Arab wall

Museums & Galleries

  • Casa Lis Art Nouveau and Art Deco Museum. The museum displays collections of the work of Émile Gallé, Demetre Chiparus and other artists of the Art nouveau and Art Deco period, in addition to special exhibitions.
  • Museum of the History of the City
  • Museum of Trade of Salamanca
  • Casa Museo Unamuno
  • Museum of Automotive History of Salamanca
  • Museum of Salamanca
  • Cathedral Museum
  • Museum of the Convento de San Esteban
  • University Museum - University Library
  • University Collections
  • Bullfighting Museum
  • Collections of the Convento de las Úrsulas
  • Museum of the Convento de Santa Clara
  • Teresian Museum
  • Casa Museo de Zacarías González. House where Zacarías González lived and painted, on the street Alarcón.
  • Permanent Exhibition IERONIMUS. The name of the exhibition: IERONIMUS alludes to Don Jerónimo de Périgueux, famed French-born Spanish bishop by the Diocese of Salamanca in 1102, who commissioned the construction of the Iglesia de Santa María. This was the event that marked the origin of the 900 Years of Art and History of the Cathedrals of Salamanca. In this tour one can admire amazing places like the one offered by the gazebo next to the Tower del Gallo, the Patio Chico or the Terraza de Anaya. The circuit of the exhibition begins in the Board of Warden, continuing on the Board of the Tower Mocha, the Platform of the Superior Room and the Board of Vault.

Things to do

  • The fiesta of the Virgen de la Vega, which takes place from the 8th to the 21st of September.
  • Watch Salamanca Football Club.
  • Across the river from the Cathedral (right on the bank across from the Roman Bridge) is a man who will rent out paddle boats and canoes to you by the hour. You can paddle up and down the Tormes, for a small fee.

Festivals and events


Holy Week

The Holy Week in Salamanca (Semana Santa) is the most well-known of Salamanca's festivals. Salamanca is renowned for the solemn and sober processions celebrated during Holy Week. 16 confraternities, 10.000 brothers or "cofrades", 50 floats or "pasos" celebrate the Passion of Christ with 20 processions and thousands of followers, tourist and visitors.

Some of the celebrations have been performed for centuries. The confraternities carry artistic pasos created by important Spanish artists such as Luis Salvador Carmona, Alejandro Carnicero or Mariano Benlliure. in 2003 the Semana Santa of Salamanca obtained the official declaration of International Touristic Interest.


Other

Salamanca is also famous throughout Spain and the rest of Europe for its celebrations of "Nochevieja Universitaria," loosely translated as "University New Year". It is usually held on the Thursday of the last week of school in December and two weeks before the real New Year's Eve. On this day, students congregate in the Plaza Mayor, Salamanca to watch free performances and take part in the countdown to midnight.

Nightlife

You can drink a Cerveza in Plaza Del Mercado in San Justo. In spring students drink Botellones in the streets (San Roman).

Try one of the following bars: (all located very close to Plaza Mayor) Camelot, Puerto de Chus, Submarino, Moderno, Cum-Laude and El Sol

Chupiteria Daniel's, Paniagua, Potemkin, Plutos, Capitan Haddock, La Posada de las Almas, Niebla, and many more bars are excellent for a very late night out!

Things to know

While the streets are filled with international tourists and students from countries around the world most locals do not speak English. It is not uncommon to find even the hotel staff in Salamanca only able to speak Spanish to you. With that said, the locals are used to people butchering their language and are willing be patient with you.

Salamancans (Salmantinos in Spanish) are very schedule oriented. They wake up, work, eat, shop and sleep at around the same time every day. Almost all stores close at exactly 2PM for a few hours so the staff can lunch. This can be hard for outsiders to adjust to but it's something you have to deal with for however long you are in town.

Safety in Salamanca

Stay Safe


Salamanca is considered to be one of the safest cities in Spain. Violent crime is for the most part unheard of. As with the rest of Spain, you should be aware of pickpockets, but they are less common in Salamanca than in the bigger cities.

Very High / 9.8

Safety (Walking alone - day)

High / 7.9

Safety (Walking alone - night)

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