Plaza Mayor (Main Square), Salamanca

Plaza Mayor (Main Square), Salamanca (must see)

So many things in Spain have to do with bulls. The Main Square (Plaza Mayor) of Salamanca, a large public square in the center of the city, started as a bull ring. King Felipe V ordered the construction of the plaza as a bull ring in 1729. It was completed in 1755. It was used for bullfighting until the mid-19th century.

The square evolved in phases. The first, up to 1735, was directed by Alberto Churriguera of the Churriguera architectural family of Barcelona. The second phase, from 1750 to 1755, was built by Manuel de Larra Churriguera. On the north side is the Baroque City Hall with five granite arches and a steeple by Andres Garcia de Quinones.

The site is roughly square-shaped. The surrounding facades of adjoining buildings all have three floors above the ground. The main facade is slightly higher. The overall effect is that of a bull ring. There are six different entrances around the plaza. There are 88 arches with decorated spandrels and more than 240 private balconies.

Bullfighting, processions, and executions have taken place in the square. Apartment owners often rented out their balconies to spectators. Gentlemen would parade clockwise around the gardens in the center of the square. Women walked around the circle of men in the opposite direction. It was a way to meet people on a Sunday.

The square is vast and pedestrianized. Strolling in the square in the evening, one is likely to meet young people, especially students, suddenly bursting into song. Sit at a table beside the square, it is pleasant to people-watch while dining on patatas bravas (spicy potatoes) in tomato sauce with a robust red wine. Salamancans love a paseo (stroll).

People meet under the starlit sky far into the night. They are singing and chanting. Students have a traditional style called "tuna music." The word "tuna" refers to the 15th-18th century lifestyle of black-garbed student troubadours. They serenade with guitars and mandolins. Finish the evening with tapas and iced gazpacho.

Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in Salamanca. Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from iTunes App Store or Google Play Store. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

Download The GPSmyCity App

Plaza Mayor (Main Square) on Map

Sight Name: Plaza Mayor (Main Square)
Sight Location: Salamanca, Spain (See walking tours in Salamanca)
Sight Type: Attraction/Landmark
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Salamanca, Spain

Create Your Own Walk in Salamanca

Create Your Own Walk in Salamanca

Creating your own self-guided walk in Salamanca is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Salamanca Introduction Walking Tour

Salamanca Introduction Walking Tour

Polybius, the ancient Greek historian, called it "Helmantike." Another ancient Greek historian, Plutarch, opted for "Salmatike." The word "Salamanca" itself refers to a "cave," "grotto," or "dark place." Legend says Satan taught Black Magic in the Caves of Salamanca.

Salamanca's splendor began with the royal charter of Alfonso IX...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.6 Km or 1 Miles
Salamanca's Historical Buildings Walking Tour

Salamanca's Historical Buildings Walking Tour

Salamanca – one of Spain’s most delightful and intriguing destinations – is a treasure trove of architectural marvels. The abundance of well-preserved, centuries-old wonders of construction tucked away in the labyrinth of narrow lanes in this prestigious university city is truly awe-inspiring. A true feast for the eyes, they are so impressive that the entire historic center of Salamanca was...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.3 Km or 1.4 Miles