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DISCOVER The Plaza Mayor of SALAMANCA – SPAIN

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Plaza Mayor of Salamanca

Take a trip to Salamanca is to visit a beautiful city with a well-maintained historic district. One of the places that most attracts our attention in this city is undoubtedly the Plaza Mayor of Salamanca, the real center of its social life for years. It is an old square, built in the 18th century in a Baroque style that surprises with its great harmony.

East the square has a great history and we are also in front of an authentic work of art that surprises because its style is very similar to that of Madrid. We are going to see how this beautiful square that today is a symbol of Salamanca was born and what we can know about it before visiting it.

History of the Plaza Mayor

Plaza Mayor of Salamanca

In the place where this Plaza Mayor is located with its architecture, there was already a much larger old square, covering the market area and much more. It was the center of the city, the place where markets, events and festivities were held, so it was its nerve center. It was said to be the greatest square in Christendom. Already in the 18th century the idea arose to give greater presence to the square, as was done in other cities, which is why the architect Alberto de Churriguera was hired to build the square. When this famous Baroque architect died, Andrés García de Quiñones completed his work.

This square has some sides called pavilions. The first to be built was the royal pavilion, the one on the left facing the clock. Later, the one in front of the town hall called Pavilion San Martín was built. The works at this time were paralyzed for fifteen years due to problems with the inhabitants and the owners of houses and businesses affected by the works, which were finally resolved. Finally, the Town Hall pavilions were built, where the Town Hall is located, and the Petrineros pavilion, the one on the right.

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Apparently this square improved the design of that of Madrid, because the free stone of Villamayor was used with a characteristic golden tone that gives it that visual harmony, but also because it was totally closed and that of Madrid does not wasn’t at that time. Although today we see his the central gray cobblestone area wasn’t always like this. This last pavement was laid in the 1950s but until then there was a central garden with trees, benches and a bandstand in the middle, with a cobbled street all around.

Curiosities of the Plaza Mayor of Salamanca

Plaza Mayor of Salamanca

Although one might think that this square has a regular quadrilateral plan, the truth is that none of the pavilions measure the same as the others, so it’s irregular, although all of them are about eighty meters. The square has 88 semicircular arches, a number that can be found inscribed under one of the arches of the San Martín pavilion. Additionally, there are 477 open balconies on the square.

We can see that the square arches alternate with medallions in which we can see illustrious characters, some very recognizable like the bust of Cervantes. Aunque no consiguió realizar la idea inicial, esta consistía que en el pabellón Real se pusiesen los bustos de los reyes, en el de San Martín de militares y conquistadores y en los otros dos los de personajes ilustres de las arts, la fe y letters. In any case, it is interesting to be able to see the busts that make up the square and recognize the famous people.

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Another curiosity tells us that there are service tunnels that crossed the square to improve communication between residents. Today they are walled up but in some departments of the lower part you can see the old arches. On the other hand, in the district of the town hall, there are windows which are always closed. It is that behind them there are no rooms, since they were made so as not to break with the harmony of the construction.

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What to do in Plaza Mayor

Plaza Mayor of Salamanca

This square is now a very touristic place, so there are a large number of bars where you can have a snack while admiring the dimensions of the square. In the area of ​​the arcades we also find shops that offer typical products, so do not miss the details because we can find genuine specialties. On another side, don’t stop visiting Café Noveltywhich is the oldest, opened its doors in 1905. This café is a historic place with a beautiful Art Nouveau decoration that takes us back in time and where you can enjoy everything from a good breakfast to delicious ice cream.

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