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University of Salamanca- A visitor´s guide

Salamanca has been a university town for over 700 years, ever since King Alfonso IX gave the charter for the institution in  1218 and Ferdinand III confirmed the privilege in 1243. The university was originally housed in the old cathedral. It flourished in the 16 Century, when it was known as one of the oldest and most distinguished of universities in the world. It has lost much of its importance but at the end of the XX century it has flourished again and it is a hub for international students.

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The university buildings we see today, which are really a number of lecture rooms built round an interior courtyard, date from the 15C. The highly decorated façade is from the early 16C and is the most famous example of a Plateresque façade. The central section, which projects over the two gates, bears the medallion of Ferdinand and Isabella, with the coat-of-arms of Charles V above them, and the Pope and cardinals at the very top.

The whole relief is chiselled in the stone in quite extraordinarily fine detail. The university courtyard is arcaded and provides access to the separate lecture rooms. The Aula, now a museum, has baroque carpets and a painting of Charles IV in the style of Goya. One of the most interesting rooms is the Frater Luis de Léon lecture hall, which is furnished in its original style, with an old dais and primitive wooden desks for the students. The Salinas Music Room has two panel paintings by Juan de Flandes, and the old chapel has works by Fernando Gallego and Felipe Bigarny and a retable by Juan de Flandes. The new chapel has a baroque altar and paintings by Juan de Ribera. There is a fine, wide staircase (with reliefs and stellar vaulting) which leads through to the upper cloisters.

A Gothic door leads through to the old baroque-furnished library, which contains 50,000 old volumes, early printed works, miniature codices and Greek and Latin manuscripts bound in leather and parchment. Nearby is the modern library. Near the entrance to the university is the former Hospital del Estudio, now the Rector’s esidence, which was built in 1600, and the Escuelas Menores, which dates from 1533 and has a Plateresque façade, an arcaded courtyard, and a lecture room containing a huge fresco known as the Ciclo de Salamanca, a hunting picture by Fernando Gallego. There are paintings by Juan de Flandes in the same room.

The famous frog at the façade of the university of Salamanca

Frog in the university of Salamanca

University of Salamanca - video

Other things to do in Salamanca

Fray Luis de Leon statue Universidad de Salamanca
University of Salamanca – guide

University of Salamanca- A visitor´s guide Salamanca has been a university town for over 700 years, ever since King Alfonso IX gave the charter for

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