Sunday, February 17, 2013


     A couple of weeks ago Katie and I visited Salamanca, home of the third oldest European university (founded in the 13th century). The city, northwest of Madrid, has a renowned Plaza Mayor and Cathedral, along with a monastery and nunnery, which makes famous sweets.

(Wall of the San Esteban Monastery) 

     Salamanca's plaza mayor is similar to Madrid's and is a popular meeting place for local residents and the city's many university students. Since university students usually go home or at least on vacation for New Year's, students have a tradition of gathering in the plaza a couple of weeks before the new year to have an early celebration. 

(Salamanca's Plaza Mayor)

     The University of Salamanca, founded in 1218, has had many distinguished professors (such as philosopher and poet Miguel de Unamuno) and people such as Cervantes and Columbus visited the campus. 

(University of Salamanca Doors)

It also has a famous portico with a frog hidden among the ornate carvings, and incoming freshman search to find it for good luck. Unfortunately, the frog doesn't really look like a frog, but instead a bump on the top of a skull, which doesn't really look like a skull. 

     The Cathedral dominates the skyline of Salamanca, and is composed of a "new" and old cathedral, and was constructed from the 12th through the 18th century. 

(Salamanca's Cathedral)

     The vaulting in this cathedral is intricate and impressive. 

(Cathedral vaulting)

     Salamanca is full of great architecture— there is a building built in the 15th century called the Casa de las Conchas (House of Shells), the facade of which is decorated with hundreds of stone scallop shells. The scallop shell is the symbol of St. James (Santiago in Spanish), and is something each pilgrim wears when he walks the Way of St. James, a thousand year old pilgrimage through northern Spain which ends in the city of Santiago de Compostela. 

(Casa de las Conchas)

      Just like Toledo, Salamanca has a trademark sweet made by its nuns. They're called amarguillos, and are dense, almond-based sweets that are soft and chewy. Very good. 

     And of course, the best part of the trip was enjoying it with Katie!

1 comment:

  1. Fantastic photos!!! I look back to try to pick a favorite, but there are too many that qualify. All the doors are awesome. This one of Katie is so beautiful, too! The shadows on the stone scallops wall. And great commentary - I feel like I've visited Salamanca with you!