Guest Author - Rachel L Webb
Salamanca is 210 km from Madrid and only 22km from the Portuguese border in the autonomous region of Castile & Leon. It has a continental climate with cold and wet winters when temperatures can drop to -5C and hot, dry summers that often exceed 30 degrees C.
The city has long been a University town and although nothing like as splendid as yesteryear it throbs with youth, not only Spanish university entrants but worldwide students of Spanish head for this thriving hub.
The University de Salamance was founded in 1218 and in its day equaled Oxford and Bologna becoming an artistic centre in the 15th century, due to the patronage of Queen Isabel of Castilla.
Spring and Autumn are ideal seasons to pay a visit to this thoroughly Spanish city. Bull-running on horse-back and on foot take place in its Carnival of the Bull which takes place on the Friday to the Tuesday before Lent.
Another famous fiesta is Great Tuesday on the second Tuesday in August, this is a large market of regional produce which has been held since 1475.
Local produce reigns in the local restaurants a great local speciality is farinato a dish of pork ham and sausage with breadcrumbs, onion, paprika and anisette served with fried eggs. Or Limones which is a typical carnival dish of salad, chorizo and citrus fruit. Locally produced wine are of excellent quality.
Take some sturdy walking shoes to explore the compact city and 12th century Roman city walls. The later 14th century castle built by Henry II of Trastamara has crenellated battlements and a square keep, that has now been restored as the Parador de Ciudad Rodrigo.
The city also boasts a cathedral that was built between the 12th and 14th century in a Romanesque and Gothic style. The church of San Andres is also worth a visit with its beautiful altarpiece and Sa Pedro with a Romanesque-Mudejar apse.
There’s a wealth of 15th and 16th century buildings to explore as well as the Aguila Palace which was slightly later.
For serious souvenir collectors there’s an important potter’s fair during Easter week, exhibiting the local traditional clay pottery.
As well as pottery, basketwork and wrought iron are old city trades, which make good hunting fare for presents.
Where to stay
Parador de Ciudad Rodrigo
Plaza del Castillo
Hotel Conde Rodrigo l.
Plaza San Salvador
923 461 404