Salamanca is a city in western Spain. Because it is known for its beautiful buildings and urban environment, the Old City was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988. It is the most important university city in Spain and is known for its contributions to the teaching of the Spanish language. Salamanca supplies 16% of Spain’s market and attracts thousands of international students, generating a diverse multicultural environment.
It is situated approximately 200 km west of Madrid and 80 km east of the Portuguese border. The University of Salamanca, which was founded in 1218 and is the oldest university in Spain and the fourth oldest western university. With its 30,000 students, the university is, together with tourism, the economic engine of the city. Salamanca is the capital of the province of Salamanca, which belongs to the autonomous community of Castile and Leon (Castilla y León). With a metropolitan population around 192,000 it is the second most populated urban area in Castile and Leon, after the capital Valladolid (369,000), and closely followed by Leon (187,000) and Burgos (176,000).
The city was founded in the pre-Ancient Rome period by the Vacceos, a Celtic tribe, as one of a pair of forts to defend their territory near the Duero river. In the third century BCE, Hannibal laid siege to the city. With the fall of the Carthaginians to the Romans, the city of Helmantica, as it was known, began to take more importance as a commercial hub in the Roman Hispania due to its favorable location. Salamanca lay on a Roman road, known as the Via de la Plata, which connected it with Emerita Augusta (present day Mérida) to the south and Asturica Augusta (present-day Astorga) to the north. Its Roman bridge dates from the first century, and was a part of this road.
With the fall of the Roman Empire, the Alans established in Lusitania, and Salamanca was part of this region. Later the city was conquered by the Visigoths and included in their territory. The city wa…
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