Salamanca has many charms and corners to discover. It is famous for hosting one of the oldest universities in the world, for its cathedrals and for where we go. We want to discover some of the curiosities of the Plaza Mayor of Salamanca, and there are many. Do you want to know them?
Curiosities of the Plaza Mayor of Salamanca : its construction
This square was built between the years 1729 and 1755 and is a popular square in the broadest sense of the word. Why? Because it was the mayor Rodrigo Caballero de Llanes, who promoted its construction. He did not get real financing, so he had no choice but to use the funds from the municipal coffers and request the help of the people.
And, without a doubt, one of the aspects that attracts the most attention is its golden color. It is the color of the Villamayor loam stone, an easy-to-mold sandstone from the quarries of this Salamanca municipality.
It is not square and is smaller than what had been projected
Another of the curiosities of the Plaza Mayor in Salamanca is that, although it may seem like it to you and you have to look at it a lot, it is not square. What’s more, none of its pavilions (that’s what the sides are called) has the same size as the others, although yes, they are all around 80 meters.
The characteristics of the square, on the other hand, were conditioned by litigation and problems when expropriating houses. That meant that the initial project was seriously depleted. The square is spectacular, but the dimensions that had been devised were much larger.
By the way, on the outside of one of the canvases you will see a beautiful Romanesque church, that of San Martín de Tours. It was “embedded” in the structure of the Plaza Mayor.
The Plaza Mayor of Salamanca is a beautiful baroque construction full of structural and ornamental elements that give shape to a set of singular beauty. We recommend that you take the time to appreciate them, but we want to save you the trouble of counting them.
Let’s go with some figures. The square has 88 semicircular arches and in some it is still possible to see the numbering. By the way, we told you that each pavilion has a measure, well, also the number of arches is different in each one.
Another fact, the square has 247 balconies and even if you could spend hours looking, you will see that some of its windows never open. Why? They are ornamental, their function is other than to maintain the harmony of the square.
Between the arches you can see more than sixty medallions. Some are still unworked. In others you can see the figure of important figures for the city and the country, from Felipe V to the Catholic Monarchs, Miguel de Unamuno, Cervantes, Santa Teresa de Jesús or Fray Luis de León.
By the way, during the War of Independence, the French troops mutilated the noses of a good part of the effigies in the square. One of the worst stops due to the vandalism of those years was that of Manuel Godoy, valid of Carlos IV.
The uses of the square
Another of the curiosities of the Plaza Mayor of Salamanca are the uses that have been made of it. Like so many other squares, it has been and is a meeting point, but it has also held large public events, parades, political events and even executions.
And it has also been the scene of massive bullfights that gathered around 20,000 people. Today it is the place of an equally massive, but very different celebration: University New Year’s Eve, which is celebrated on the penultimate Thursday of December.
A very cinematic square
Perhaps it is one of the curiosities of the Plaza Mayor of Salamanca that surprises you the most. If you have seen In the spotlight you will know that a good part of the film takes place in this square. .. well, not exactly this one.
An exact replica was built in Mexico, due to the difficulties involved in shooting action scenes in the real one. Of course, the film premiered in Salamanca and gave much more fame to an already well-known city.
What do you think of these curiosities of the Plaza Mayor in Salamanca? Surely when you visit it you will look at it with different eyes.
Cover photo: Xosema / commons.wikimedia.org