Salamanca is a city in western Spain popular for being one of Europe’s first university towns. Thanks to numerous local and international students the city is always lively Salamanca’s Old City is included in UNESCO World Heritage sites's list of Madrid.
The University of Salamanca is the third oldest university in the Western Europe and the oldest one in Spain. Besides that it was the first institution in Europe to get the “University” status. It was founded in 1218. Since then it has become a powerful economic engine of the city as well as tourist attraction.
In comparisson to such big world-famous universities as Cambridge and Oxford, the University of Salamanca used to have a number of colleges. Thanks to them poor scholars had a chance to study in the university. The majority of them were destroyed in the times of Napoleon.
Nowadays Salamanca is still a top-ranked university attracting students from across the country and different corners of the world. It is popular for having great Spanish courses for non-native speakers. That is one of the main reasons why foreign students are attracted to studying here. The University of Salamanca is nowadays popular for its languages and Humanities as well as economics and law. The university also houses a pretty big library holding around 906 000 volumes. Different scientific researchers are being carried out in this institution. The amount of students studying here is about 30 000 people.
The life in the city seems to revolve around its main square - Plaza de Mayor. It is a meeting place for students and visitors of the city. Here you will hear Spanish spoken with all possible accents. This beautiful square built in traditional Spanish baroque style is truly considered a heart of Salamanca. It is even claimed to be one of the most fascinating squares in the country.
The plaza was commissioned to be used for bullfights. Its construction began in 1729 and was finished 25 years later. After its completion the plaza was used for bullfights until the middle of the 19th century.
The Plaza de Mayor was designed with two towers but the project failed because their weight was too heavy to support it and it was decided to use the older project of plaza. Thus it was built in baroque style with steeple and granite arches. It represents an irregular square with facades of different heights. The plaza has a clock tower, 247 balconies, six entrances that lead to different streets. All the walls have 3 floors except for the main façade.
The Plaza de Mayor is also connected to Calle del Toro from the northeast - a big shopping area of Madrid that shouldn’t be missed.