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Located next to the Tormes River, which lent its name to the famous novel ‘Lazarillo de Tormes’, Salamanca is synonymous with history and culture. The Castilian city in Leon is home to the University of Salamanca, which is the oldest working university in Spain and has been one of the most prestigious universities in the Western World for centuries. Founded in 1218 by Alfonso IX of Leon, it was the first in Europe to hold the title of ‘University’, according to the edicts of Alfonso X The Learned in 1253 and Pope Alexander IV in 1255. Humanist and poet, Fray Luis de León, author of the first Castilian grammar book, Antonio de Nebrija, and philosopher and writer, Miguel de Unamuno, have all taught here. One of its most distinguished students is Fernando de Rojas, author of ‘La Celestina’. Take one of our cheap flights to Salamanca to discover a beautiful, friendly city, immersed in history.
As Cervantes once said: “Salamanca casts a spell on all those who have enjoyed its peacefulness, awakening the desire to return”. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage site, the city boasts a first-class architectural heritage, which includes both its cathedrals, namely the Gothic Old Cathedral and the gothic and Neo-baroque New Cathedral, the Gothic and Plateresque House of Shells and the Gothic, Baroque and Plateresque Convent of Saint Stephen.
The spectacular 18th century Churrigueresque Main Plaza deserves a special mention, as it is the nucleus of the city’s social life, as does the ‘Escuelas Mayores’, which is the main building of the University of Salamanca. Built in the 15th and 16th century, its impressive façade incorporates numerous decorative carved figures, including a skull with the famous Frog of Salamanca perched on top of it. Tourists enjoy challenging themselves to find it, deeming the one who finds it first as the wisest of the group. Legend has it that the carving served to warn students of the negative consequences of lechery, with the frog representing mortal sin and the skull representing death.
Once the frog has been located, unwinding with a drink in good company is easily done. This city is home to thousands of students throughout the year, and therefore offers a vast array of all kinds of bars, in areas such as the Paseo Carmelitas, Bordadores and Prior Street.