Salamanca, The Spanish- Speaking World´S Oldest University

Salamanca, The Spanish- Speaking World´S Oldest University

As we’ve already mentioned on previous occasions, it is estimated that more than 25,000 students choose Salamanca to learn or improve their Spanish, which makes it one of the country’s top language tourism destinations.

It’s worth remembering that Salamanca is synonymous with culture, the generation of ideas and innovation. And, over the course of its history, the University has been a hotbed of such ideas, and one which continues to make its mark on society and the economy today.

The city of Salamanca is the perfect city to study in and to prepare yourself for the future, because you can live well without having to spend too much money. Whether you stay for a year, come for a shorter-term residence or for an occasional visit (in which case you could stay with us), it’ll be affordable.

The University of Salamanca was founded in 1218 by King Alfonso IX of Leon and is considered to be the oldest university in the Spanish-speaking world.

Between the 15th and 16th centuries, the university embraced the new humanistic movements. A good example of this is the teaching of Nebrija. By the middle of the 16th century, the convergence of law, Thomist theology, classical languages and new logics crystallised into what was known as the “School of Salamanca“.

The 16th century saw the highest numbers of students: if in the late 14th century the university had 500-600 young people enrolled, at the beginning of the 16th century there were 2,500 and by the 1580s there were more than 6,500. Consequently, Salamanca increased in prestige in the field of education, both within the Iberian Peninsula and across Europe, compared with other Spanish universities of the time. The 17th century saw a decline in student numbers at the University, and the liberal reforms of the 19th century marked a “before” and “after” in the evolution of the University of Salamanca.

In the mid-80s, student numbers exceeded 20,000 and since the mid-90s there have been more than 30,000. With the increase of students studying at the University, new academic buildings and spaces were created: the best example of these is the new “Miguel de Unamuno Campus“.

The university building is square in shape and has a central courtyard surrounded by galleries. Its principal architectural interest lies in its Plateresque façade, which was created in the first 30 years of the 16th century.

Fancy thrilling your senses? Then be sure to see the magnificent University façade, a masterpiece of the Spanish Plateresque. Relish the sight of this unparalleled monument, the grandeur of its stones and their history! It was the Catholic Kings themselves who ordered its construction. And, in the centre, there is a statue of Charles I, during whose reign this magnificent project was completed.

None the less important are the “Escuelas Menores” or Lesser Schools, which are near the University and have their own particular architectural highlights. One features a ceiling painted by Fernando Gallego.

As a closing note, legend has it that Salamanca students had to see the frog on the façade if they wanted to pass their course; anyone who failed who do so was sure to fail their degree or doctorate. Does this still apply today? If you are in any doubt and are coming to study in Salamanca, be sure to come and hunt it out!

And what about you? Are you tempted to hunt for the frog?


Have a great #weekend!

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