SALAMANKA: NIGHT DATE
Many cities that we visit, we like by definition. Their accumulated “reputation” among tourists simply leaves us no choice: how can you say that you didn’t like Rome, or Barcelona, or Paris, if everyone else was delighted with them? And although, of course, there are exceptions (as I have with Paris), basically everything is happening this way.
San Sebastian honestly won me “from scratch” for the day of my acquaintance, but with the help of a professional guide. And Salamanca, which I hardly remembered, going through the “salamander” with “Casablanca”, entered the heart, soul and memory in just a couple of hours of independent night festivities. Well, how can I not tell you about such a charismatic city ?!
To say that Salamanca is old – to say nothing: the age of 1000 years, which other cities are rightly proud of, she lived even before our era, and about 2700 years old!
She hails from the Iron Age, so you can imagine the quantity and quality of its attractions. And although it was badly damaged by the notorious 1755 earthquake that destroyed Lisbon, elements of buildings from the 12th and 13th centuries are common here!
A striking example of this – the church of San Martin, preserved fragmentary from the 12th century. By the way, the wall bas-relief of St. Martin remains in its original form for more than 700 years!
The old cathedral Cathedral of Vieja, one of the main attractions of the city, was built for 200 years and also dates back to the 12-13th centuries. With two seas turning into each other, I was once surprised by Turkey. The two existing Cathedrals of Salamanca, creating a single architectural complex, are not only surprising, but also fascinating with elegant grace, visible even at night!
And yet the main celebrity of the city is the University. It may sound boring and mundane, but here it is – absolutely unique! To begin with, 2018 is the year of its 800th anniversary. And in the 13th century, it became the first in Europe to be called the word “university”. Here, back in the Renaissance, the world’s first female teacher appeared, and in the 16th century – a female professor! In the same 16th century, his department of mathematics performed calculations to create the Gregorian calendar, and the department of philology created the first Spanish grammar! True, there were “punctures”: the university scholars did not support the first transatlantic voyage of Columbus due to sufficient knowledge of the world.
But the value of the university is determined not only by scientific achievements: the constant huge number of students from all over Europe (even in the 16th century there were about 6,000!) Makes Salamanca young and perky, despite her old age! So we, successfully “coinciding” in time with some city festivities, moved the territory of the university in a noisy, multilingual and adrenaline student crowd. After a day full of impressions of the handsome and gourmet of San Sebastian, we ended up on an equally magical night!
But the climax of delight “fell” on the Plaza Mayor. The most beautiful square of Spain sparkled with lights, rang with laughter and music of a festive show. Late Wednesday evening did not prevent the Spaniards from enjoying the concert and friendly communication over a glass of wine! They were so natural and “tasty” enjoyed life here and now, that it became clear: this is the way to live!
Perhaps it was this sensation of life as a holiday that captured Salamanca? Although rarities and monuments here – just at every step: the bridge over the River Tormes – even the time of the Romans; the strict building at its foot is the convent; head to the left — the refined simplicity of St. Paul’s church with its elegant red doors; head to the right – House with shells. The owner, a knight of the Order of Santiago, decorated his facade with hundreds of stone wings of shells, a symbol of the order, surprising passers since the 16th century.
The whole Old Town is a continuous series of unusual buildings, fancy architectural forms and decorations in the aura of romantic night illumination …
Here it is, Salamanca, unlike anyone else: Spain, but close to France and Portugal; ancient, but forever young; scientist, but living happily and fully! And, as a “lady” with a huge life experience, conquering from the first date …