It’s no secret that the Casa de las Conchas or “House of Shells”, which is located opposite the entrance to the Pontifical University, is one of the city of Salamanca’s most unusual and famous landmarks.
Thanks to our great location, Salamanca Suite Studios is where it’s all at, right at the heart of the city. We’d definitely recommend heading out for a walk from the hotel and exploring the streets and gardens of this amazing city – you’re sure to bump into some shells.
Construction of the Casa de las Conchas began in around 1493, under the orders of Rodrigo Arias Maldonado, Knight of the Order Santiago – hence the scallop shells that decorate it – and an ambassador of the Catholic Kings, Queen Isabel and King Ferdinand. His coat of arms with its five fleurs-de-lis and above it that of the Catholic Kings, can be seen above the door.
Certainly the highlight of this iconic building is its facade decorated with over 300 shells, as well as a number of crests and shields.
It’s not know for sure exactly why the façade was decorated this way, but two of the local theories are because the Maldonado family belonged to the Order of Santiago or because it was a symbol of Don Rodrigo’s love for his wife, whose family’s crest featured a scallop shell.
Although the exterior attracts the most attention, the inner courtyard is also exceedingly beautiful and harmonious, with a blend of architectural styles: late Gothic, Mudejar and Renaissance. Another unusual feature is the well with its simple ironwork fittings and the two halls with their walnut panelling.
Declared a National Monument in 1929, it currently houses a library, the tourist information office and art and cultural exhibitions.
And last but not least, we’ll let you in on a little secret… According to legend, there’s a gold coin hidden under one of the shells? Any idea which one?
Have a great day friends!