A beautiful town Salamanca: The University and Alfonxo X

Salamanca Spain


Salamanca is a beautiful ancient university city located in about 213km towards northwest from Madrid, Spain.

The Old City of Salamanca is covered with numerous Romanesque, Gothic, Moorish, Renaissance or Baroque monuments such as the 12th century Romanesque Old Cathedral, the New Cathedral of Gothic and Baroque style, the Plaza Mayor of 18th century Baroque style to name a few. Together with the University of Salamanca, The Old City of Salamanca was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988.

Map of Spain


University of Salamanca and Alfonso X the Wise

The University of Salamanca is the oldest university in Spain and the third oldest university in continuous operation in Europe, following the University of Bologna in Italy and the University of Oxford in United Kingdom.

The origin of the University of Salamanca can be traced back, at least, to 1130 when it is believed to have been founded and started operating as an educational institution. In 1218, it was recognised as Studium Generale by the King Alfonso IX of Leon. In 1252, it was given the title of “University” by the King Alfonso X of Castile and Leon.

Alfonso X is often called the King Alfonso X the Wise. He highlighted the importance of the knowledge and culture for his successful reign and the civilisation. He collected wide range of knowledge from literature, science, history, law, astronomy to music and plastic arts. Alfonso X had interests not only in occidental culture but also in oriental one. He set up Toledo School of Translators where many Latin, Arabic and Hebrew scholars were hired. Many classic works were translated here into Latin and introduced to Europe.

Alfonso X put all the collected knowledge together and wrote up in a common language of the time “Castilian (today's Spanish language)” instead of Latin (the language of prestige) giving the common people access to the knowledge. The output is known as Literature of Alfonso X, a huge amount of literature works.

From Literature of Alfonso X, as a lyrical work, we can find the Cantigas de Santa María (Canticles of Holy Mary), a collection of more than 420 poems with monophonic music notation (classical guitar version sample). This is the only work that was not written in Castilian language but in Galician-Portuguese (considered fashionable and lyrical at the time).


By the way, the Moon's crater ‘Alphonsus’ is derived from Afonso X. This name was given by an Italian astronomer of the 17th century.



A notable Spanish scholar and Basque writer Miguel de Unamuno, was the Rector of the University of Salamanca from 1901 until 1936.

ミゲル・デ・ウナムーノ像 サラマンカ


(Former) San Boal Palace (15th century) 1 (Former) San Boal Palace 2(Left: Hispanic-Japanese Cultural Center of the University of Salamanca) University of Salamanca (facade) Plaza Mayor: Baroque style New Cathedral of Salamanca (16-18th century): Gothic style 1 New Cathedral of Salamanca 2 Cathedral of Salamanca's astronaut. Added in 1992, when the damaged pillar was repaired. Cathedral of Salamanca's faun eating an ice cream. Casa Lis (Art Nouveau and Art Deco Museum) 1 Casa Lis (Art Nouveau and Art Deco Museum) 2 Tower del Clavero (15th century) 1 Tower del Clavero (15th century) 2 Convento de San Esteban (16th century) Plateresque, Baroque, Renaissance. Iglesia de San Benito (Gothic church) Plaza de San Benito Iglesia de San Pablo (Baroque church) La Salina Palace (1546): Renaissance. Pontifical University of Salamanca 1 Pontifical University of Salamanca 2 Monterrey Palace (16th century) Cervantes street Companía street Archbishop Fonseca College's capitals 1 Archbishop Fonseca College's capitals 2 Archbishop Fonseca College's capitals 3 Archbishop Fonseca College's capitals 4 Archbishop Fonseca College's capitals 5 Archbishop Fonseca College's capitals 6 Archbishop Fonseca College's capitals 7 Archbishop Fonseca College's capitals 8 Archbishop Fonseca College's capitals 9 Archbishop Fonseca College's capitals 10 Archbishop Fonseca College's capitals 11 Archbishop Fonseca College 01 Archbishop Fonseca College 02 Archbishop Fonseca College 03 Archbishop Fonseca College 04 Archbishop Fonseca College 05 Archbishop Fonseca College 06 Archbishop Fonseca College 07 Archbishop Fonseca College 08 Archbishop Fonseca College 09 Archbishop Fonseca College 10 Archbishop Fonseca College 11 Archbishop Fonseca College 12 Archbishop Fonseca College 13 Archbishop Fonseca College 14 Archbishop Fonseca College 15 Archbishop Fonseca College 16 Archbishop Fonseca College 17 Archbishop Fonseca College 18 Archbishop Fonseca College 19 Archbishop Fonseca College 20 Archbishop Fonseca College 21 Archbishop Fonseca College 22 Archbishop Fonseca College 23

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