Salamanca University City
Salamanca, in northwestern Spain, is the capital of the Province of Salamanca in the region of Castile y Leon and is one of the most important university cities in Spain. Situated about 200 kilometres west of Madrid, it has always historically, been a great centre of learning and religion for hundreds of years. Its university, which was founded in 1134 is the oldest in Spain and attracts around 30,000 students each year. On the façade of the University building, which is also heavily carved, it is said that if you can find the carving of the frog you will pass all your exams! (Callan students needn´t travel to Salamanca, just study! Haha). If you are a student of design, the Museum of Art Deco and Art Nouveau in Salamanca has a fantastic collection of painting, glass, ceramics, sculpture and jewelry from both periods.
The old city was declared a World Heritage Site in 1998.
There are two major cathedrals in Salamanca; the Old Cathedral (built in the 12th century) and the New Cathedral (built between the 16th and 18th century). The Old Cathedral, which is the Church of Saint Mary, was built in the medieval style whilst the New Cathedral was built in the gothic/baroque/Romanesque style.
After a five year restoration, it is now possible to visit previously inaccessible parts of both cathedrals, by climbing up one of the two 110 metre towers of the cathedral. From here you can enjoy spectacular views of the surrounding city and countryside, whilst also visiting the many roof terraces and rooms in the tower containing exhibits from the cathedrals 900 year history. There is also a parapet which runs around the upper level of the interior of the new cathedral from where you can see up close the many splendid architectural details and the still visible evidence of the earthquake of Lisbon in 1755, which left large cracks in the interior and façade of the building.
In recent years, stonemasons restoring the details on the outside of the cathedral have taken the opportunity to replace some of the old carvings with more modern effigies. Two of these can be seen around the outside one of the doors of the cathedral, which includes an astronaut and a devil eating an ice cream. There is also a carving of a rabbit which is said to bring good luck if you stroke the carving (again students needn’t travel to Salamanca to stroke the rabbit!)
An audio guided tour of the both cathedrals will cost 4.75 euros whilst a ticket for access to the roof, towers and parapets is through a separate entrance and costs 3.75 euros