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The Plaza Mayor of Salamanca
The towers of the Old (at left) and New Cathedrals of Salamanca
The main façade of the Universidad de Salamanca

Salamanca (population 156,006 (2002)) is a city in central Spain, the capital of the province of Salamanca in the autonomous community of Castile-Leon.

The city lies on a plateau by the Tormes river and is considered to be one of the most spectacular Renaissance cities in Europe. Through the centuries the sandstone buildings have gained an exquisite golden glow which has given Salamanca the nickname La Dorada, the golden city.

A central place in the city is the Plaza Mayor, known as the living room of the Salmantinos (Salamancans).

In 1218, Alfonso IX of Castile and León founded a university here, one of the oldest universities in Europe.

The city is large enough to be able to offer the advantages of a real city, but at the same time it keeps the intimacy of a village.

In Salamanca, the inhabitants are said to speak the "purest" Spanish of Spain, Castilian, a reputation it shares with Valladolid. For this reason Salamanca is popular with people all over the world who want to learn Spanish.

Salamanca is the site of the archive of the Spanish Civil War (Archivo General de la Guerra Civil Española). Much of this collection was stolen from its originators and accumulated by the Francoist regime, and was used as a repressive instrument against all sort of opposition groups and individuals: republicans of all signs, unionists, communists, liberals, Freemasons, Basques, Catalans, etc. The return of the original documentation has been repeatedly demanded by the original owners, and ignored by the successive Spanish governments, despite the principles of the International Council on Archives (ICA).