Salamanca University and the Pursuit of Knowledge

The University of Salamanca remains the driving force behind the city. And now, as ever, Salamanca is one of the student cities par excellence.

The Anaya College was the first of its kind in Spain. It was founded to afford an opportunity to the poorest students to study at university. And many of these young students also ate for free during their studies.

At the Anaya College we are welcomed by a large engraved facade with carvings of medallions, coats of arms and… the famous frog, which is traditionally sought after by students, hoping that by spotting the frog they will be granted luck during the year.

Once inside, we enter the cloister. It was here that the classrooms belonging to the University’s most distinguished professors were found. These were academics, who with their ideas and vision, changed the world: Fray Luis de Leon, Francisco de Vitoria, Antonio de Nebrija, and Miguel de Unamuno, just to name a few.

The classroom were Fray Luis de Leon once taught has been kept the same way he left it, almost frozen in time. The students never took notes as the books used during lectures were banned by the Spanish Inquisition. It was here in this classroom that Fray Luis de León, after five years’ imprisonment, returned to his lectures with the words: “As I was saying yesterday”. The phrase has since been cited on numerous occasions by professors at Salamanca University as a small tribute to Fray Luis de León.

The students who passed their exams painted celebratory messages with bull's blood, oil, paprika and red ochre... you could say that these inscriptions were the predecessors to the modern day graffiti. Their writings, which dotted the walls of the University, have withstood the test of time.

The Library, which was founded in 1254, was the first university library in all of Europe. There are 2800 manuscripts, publications and books printed before 1500, there are also ‘books’ which are actually three dimensional scale models of the earth in the form of globes, the accountant at the time couldn’t justify spending so much money on decoration, so he listed the globes in the book account.

In the Lower School lessons were imparted to students before entering university. In the courtyard of the cloister, we can contemplate the Sky of Salamanca, one of the many magical corners that the city holds. The blue and starry sky offers us a fine example of early Astrology- one of the subjects which were taught at university. The Sky of Salamanca takes us back to the heyday of city and its university, and offers the visitor a taster of a new world waiting to be discovered.