Plaza Mayor, Salamanca, Spain

While looking around for a place to stay, for just a night halt in Salamnca, I ended up choosing a hotel in Plaza Mayor. The first main reason was obviously because Plaza Mayor is the most beautiful square in the whole of Spain! It is the most interesting gathering place for this university Town of Salamanca. Students, tourists, and locals all gather here and it is busy life in the square whether winters or summers, day or night.

Plaza Mayor SalamancaPlaza Mayor Salamanca three bells

Living in a historic place always gave me a special excitement and this was no different. It took me a while to align myself with this 18th century monument and to be within the four walls of an old room in the monument. Plaza Mayor was constructed between the years 1729 and 1755. In 1988, UNESCO declared the old city of Salamanca a World Heritage Site. Entire complex was built of yellow sandstone the one that was used to build the Jaisalmer Fort. And it is called as “The Golden City” just like how our Jaisalmer Fort is called “Shonar Quilla” (meaning golden fort in Bengali.)

Can you believe the square was used for bullfighting up until the mid-19th century?! I looked out from the little balcony of my room in the hotel to imagine one such scene with crowds cheering from all sides. Well the scene was almost the same just minus the loud cheers and the bulls. The square is crowded at any point of time during day and night, maybe past midnight it would have been a little deserted. The Baroque style architecture of Plaza mayor belonging to 18th century charmed me. I read in Steves guide to Spain that “in earlier days girls would promenade clockwise around the colonnade and boys cruised anticlockwise looking for the perfect cheese (smile or a cute dish).”

Plaza Mayor SpainPlaza Mayor Salamanca medalions

It took me a while to sense the good angles of photography. I saw a photographer early in the morning set up his apparatus clicking vigorously, wonder what special angle he got!

The monument includes Spanish decorations of cut tablets. The equilateral arches in the ground floor make good pictures. It is not a perfect square. The northern side with the City Hall has 21 arches, the south 20 arches; the east has 22 arches while the west has 25 arches. The spandrels of the arches are studded with medallions of famous men, women and distinguished figures in Spain’s history. They include kings from Alfonso IX to Carlos III, discoverers and conquerors, and Spanish intellectuals. These reliefs were executed by the sculptor Manuel de Larra Churriguera.

Plaza Mayor Salamanca Royal Pavilion

The monument has 4 levels, not sure if the whole of it is converted to different hotels or not. The city hall is located on north side of the plaza, built in the baroque style with 5 granite arches and a steeple. The belfry was added in the 19th century–with three bells and a clock. The eastern facade, with a large semicircular arch is the Royal Pavilion.

The old and new cathedral and the university are all within walking distance from Plaza Mayor. A walk through the old lanes near Plaza Mayor was worth the time spent. Once you are done seeing cathedrals, university and strolling in streets go back to Square. There are plenty of benches in the square, so sit and watch the world moving on around you. We did precisely that!

(Spot me in the pic below. 3rd floor, 3rd door. :))

Plaza Mayor Salamanca town hall

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36 Responses

  1. eileen says:

    The plaza is awesome and wow, this is a gorgeous building. Lovely collection of photos. Thanks for sharing your visit. Happy Sunday, enjoy your new week ahead!

  2. The plaza looks great. Awesome captures.

  3. Your night time shots are absolutely spectacular! Loved the tour you gave us of the plaza!

  4. Shrikant says:

    Wow.. nice array of pictures, Indrani.

  5. Spectacular photographs! Must have been an amazing experience to stay in a place like that.

  6. Arun says:

    The monument looks lovely! You have captured them really well!

  7. magiceye says:

    Gorgeous captures!!

  8. This plaza is looking beautiful in lights:)

  9. Very impressive place Indrani.Thanks.

  10. dNambiar says:

    What a grand and beautiful looking structure. It would be something to watch a bull fight from up there. I’m sure it’s a great place to watch people, now. 🙂

    Gosh! it looks so, so, so beautiful at night. 🙂

  11. wow! The plaza looks so magnificent and beautiful. Great captures 🙂

  12. Great Photographs of the Plaza.. Nicely narrated, Indrani!

  13. Priyanka says:

    Woah, I don’t think I’d be able to sleep, just out of sheer excitement! 🙂

  14. Kalpana says:

    What a treat for the eyes Indrani. Glad to have visited Spain through your blog.

  15. This is awesome. The large squares in Europe are lovely.

  16. Sylvia D. says:

    Hi, Thanks for sharing those beautiful pictures. It’s a great looking building. Sylvia D.

  17. Incredible architecture! As I look at your photos, I can hear the bullfighting starting!

  18. Reader Wil says:

    Hi Indrani! Your photos are excellent and impressive! This is a huge and beautiful buildings. Thank you for the information about it.
    Wil, ABCW Team

  19. Jeevan says:

    The square sounds entertaining – just taking a seat and watching things happening around. What we usually do at visiting beaches. The entire place looks magnificent in night lights! Excellent shots

  20. Incredibly grand… Great pics!

  21. Chrysoula says:

    What an amazing square with so much history! Salamanca looks like a really nice town. I would love to visit!

  22. Megan says:

    Thanks for sharing. Definitely bookmarking as I start to plan a trip for the fall to Spain. Will have to add Salamanca to my list.

  23. Nisha says:

    Lovely square with golden hues. Interesting to know that it was also used for bull fighting. Was it open for public on other days? That girl & boy thing still happens in Spain. 🙂

  24. Such beautiful architecture! I love going to places that have so much beauty and history in them.

  25. This square is beautiful! Loved that you told us so many historical facts. Didn’t know that they used it for bull fighting. It must have been very nice to be able to pass the night here. 🙂

  26. Christina says:

    What a grand plaza. Spain has so many beautiful cities and a vibrant culture. I haven’t heard of Salamanca. It certainly looks like a handsome city.

  27. Brianna says:

    What a gorgeous Plaza, especially at night! This reminds me a lot of the Grand Plaza in Mexico City.

  28. LOVED Salamanca. I only had a day there, but there were SO many details on all the building. I remember seeing the plaza for the first time and being totally amazed by the details!

  29. Plaza Mayor looks like a real awesome place with the grand architecture .Had always known of the Sonar Quilla but never knew anything about the Golden City, thanks for sharing.The plaza looks like a really happening hub irrespective of the time of the day.

  30. I love delving into one particular spot when I travel. There are always so many layers to it. I’ve been to a lot of Plaza Mayors in Spain, but never this one. It looks so stunning with its golden hue.

  31. Maria says:

    Your night photos look amazing! Good job with them! I have not been to Salamanca, but it looks like a beautiful place to visit!

  32. When I first read Plaza Mayor, I thought you were talking about the one in Madrid. Only when I started reading, I realised that you were talking about the one in Salamanca. The architecture of both of them do look similar. Except that this one is Golden while the other one is bright red. I liked the quote of how they went looking for the perfect cheese. Loved the night photos especially.

  33. Such an elegant plaza. How lovely to stay there. I love the history too. The old squares were so vital at one time.

  34. This was a nice informative post. You pictures look nice – doing justice to the idea of the golden city.

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