Salamanca

From the Roman Bridge which presides over the Tormes River, the majestic city of Salamanca stands tall. Declared a World Heritage City in 1988, Salamanca is considered by many a Renaissance urban area. But it's not just the city's architecture which afforded this description as Salamanca is home to the first Spanish university whose doors opened during the 13th century.

At this birthplace of knowledge, Fray Luis de León, Francisco de Vitoria and Unamuno once imparted lectures. Before the discovery of Latin America, the maps which would carry Columbus across the seas to the New World were chartered here, within the walls of St. Esteban.

A centre of thought and study, and a centre for the pursuit of knowledge, the university was originally home to 6,000 students, now six centuries on, there are 40,000 students studying in Salamanca. A city of cathedrals, you are welcomed by both the old and the new. The new cathedral is Gothic, with a mixture of Renaissance and Baroque. Next door is the old cathedral, Romanic, somewhat smaller, but no less beautiful. From the Ieronimus mirador we can marvel at the two standing side by side, as if joined by the hip.

The terrace above the main facade gives us a unique perspective of the world below.

In stark contrast, the DA2 is a space where the visitor is allowed to roam and feel free, a far cry from when it was once used as the city prison. The new contemporary art centre reminds us that Salamanca is also a modern and dynamic city, where both modern and old architecture coexist in perfect harmony.

Salamanca is renowned for its students, young, energetic and cosmopolitan. But the city is also an outdoor museum carved in golden stone, which includes a personal touch from its past students. A tour of the stately homes, palaces, and town squares give us an insight into Salamanca’s past, a past which has embraced the present.