Salamanca the Purest of Spain

If you wish to learn Spanish, then the best place to learn, it is said, is in the ancient city of Salamanca, where the Spanish they speak is the purest form of the language.

The city is located in the community of Castile and Leon, and is famed for the magnificence of its buildings, which are primarily built from local, golden stone.

In Salamanca you can relax in wonderful squares, visit magnificent cathedrals and churches, see palatial buildings, browse through fascinating museums, and fully enjoy the traditional Spanish way of life.

The city was founded in the 3rd century BC, and since then has been colonised and fought over by just about anyone who had a score to settle or lands to plunder anywhere in Europe. Whilst these upheavals may have seemed disastrous at the time, each invader has left their mark so that now Salamanca is a place which pleases the senses, and which does glow with a true sense of history whilst simultaneously embracing a contemporary and sophisticated air.

To give you some idea of how time remains constant in Salamanca, the city has two cathedrals. The Old Cathedral which was built in the 12th century in the Romanesque style that was popular at the time, and the New Cathedral, which is a gothic building that was built in the 16th century.

Many of Salamanca’s buildings are ornately decorated with a type of ceramic called sgraffito. If it sounds like graffiti that’s because it’s reasonably close to that form of meaningless vandalism, except that sgraffito was a welcome addition to any building. Basically, coloured plaster or ceramics were applied to a wall and then deliberately etched to form patterns, making the facades of buildings both attractive and unique.

Apart from the Romanesque, gothic and sgraffito decorated buildings, Salamanca also has some fine examples of art nouveau and art deco on display in Casa Lis, which is just one of a number of museums within the city. Two other museums are devoted to the blood sport of bullfighting and automobiles.

Salamanca is a university town and it boasts Spain’s oldest university, which was founded in 1230, and features a form of architecture called plateresque, which is like an overly-flamboyant gothic style.

Given its history, Salamanca is a place where you can bide your time, and one of the best ways to do that is to sit at a cafe in Plaza Mayor, the main square, enjoy a coffee, indulge in a spot of people watching, and just enjoy the spirit of one of Spain’s most attractive cities.

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