The City of Salamanca
Salamanca is the spanish university city by excellence, known in the whole world for this and for its artistic richness: cathedrals, palaces, churches... of artistic styles such as romanesque, gothic, plateresque y barroque. Situated on the banks of the river Tormes, its geographical extensión is 12.336 Km², and it currently has 159.000 inhabitants.

The city of Salamanca, or "Helmantika", was founded in the 4th century BC by the Celts (Vettones and Vacceos) and Romanized short after. It constituted an important link of communications of the Ruta de la Plata, the Roman "Road of the Silver" which crossed the Peninsula from North to South. Helmantika was later called Salmantica and finally, since the 13th century, the city got its present name, Salamanca.

In the 8th century, during the Muslim invasion of the Iberian Peninsula, the city was conquered by Musa Ibh Nusair, and Muslim culture took over Christianity.

After the Christian Reconquest, in the 13th century, the king Alfonso IX founded what was to become the University of Salamanca some eighteen years later. So, in many ways, the city owes its fame and prosperity to him. The new University soon received recognition from Kings Fernando el Santo (The Saint) and Alfonso X el Sabio (the Wise), establishing the number and type of professorships that should make up the University structure.

The University was later ratified by the Pope Alexander IV in 1255. The city and its university reached great prestige at the time and afterwards, with outstanding figures such as Abd-el-Krim or the famous writer Miguel de

Salamanca and Tormes River

Unamuno, who was vice-Chancellor at the University of Salamanca.

The splendour of the XVI century when Salamanca was the epicentre of learning and worldly knowledge, the crisis of the Baroque period, the Peninsular War and the isolation of the 19th and a good part of the 20th centuries, have moulded both the physical and the spiritual aspects of the city’s structure, identity and culture.

Salamanca was also a key city during the Spanish Civil War. All the documents obtained by the national troops during the occupation of the country where concentrated in Salamanca, creating a famous archive of documents of the Spanish war.

With the establishment of democracy and the arrival of monarchy in Spain, the prestige of the city and its University flourished again. Salamanca has become a cosmopolitan city and is continuously growing in culture and heritage, as shows its recognition by UNESCO as World Heritage Site, and its recent designation as European Capital of Culture, in the year 2002.

The XV Latin American Heads of State and Government Summit in 2005 is another event that has put Salamanca on the world’s map.

Next page