Salamanca is Spain's largest academic center. It is often called the Golden City because of its shimmering gold houses made of sandstone. It is a city of youth, with great history and interesting monuments from different eras.
The city center and the most important meeting point for locals and tourists alike is surrounded by the monumental Plaza Mayor buildings. It is one of the largest markets in Spain and has been on the UNESCO list since 1988.
The beginnings of the university history of Salamanca go back to 1218. King Alfonso IX founded the first university here. Many university buildings from the Middle Ages, Renaissance and Baroque have survived to this day. Some of them have beautifully decorated facades with Mudejar ornaments. The symbol of the university here is the Frog of Salamanca, a small sculpture placed on the facades of the university. University buildings are scattered throughout the Old Town. Interesting sites include the University of La Clerecía and the connected Church of La Clerecía.
The old town of Salamanca is full of wonderful historic churches. The largest of them is the monumental Cathedral of Salamanca with Ieronimus viewing terraces. This is the best place to admire the panorama of the city. The late Gothic Monastery of St. Stephen from the Museum of St. Stephen and the terrace. Other interesting temples include Church of San Marcos, Church of the Immaculate Conception, Las Dueñas Monastery built in the Moorish style and Church of St. Sebastian.
However, the Old Town is not only churches, but also beautiful secular buildings. The most original here is the Renaissance House of Shells, whose facade houses over 300 shells of St. Jacob. The Salina Palace is also beautiful with its arcades and carved balconies. The treasure of the oldest part of the city is the small Garden of Calixto and Melibea, hidden between the buildings, which is especially liked by lovers.
Salamanca is not only an important university, but also a cultural center with interesting museums. The most famous is the Art Deco and Art Nouveau Museum with a collection of decorative arts and crafts from the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries. Other interesting places are the Trade and Industry Museum, the Salamanca Museum, the Automotive History Museum and the El Sur Mill Museum.