|Tormes River with the two cathedrals|
|View of La Clerecía and the old town from the New Cathedral’s bell tower|
A break from the Castilian cold
|Casa de las Conchas: The Shells House|
|The out-of-control university façade|
|Centuries of faded paint|
|Renaissance patio in the university|
My Blue Hour photography mission
|West façade, New Cathedral|
|North façade, New Cathedral|
I also saw some connections with Santiago: both are home to prestigious, centuries-old universities (Salamanca’s is Europe’s fourth-oldest!) and both contain two of Spain’s most dazzling old cities. And their cathedrals guard the memories of almost a millennium of Western architectural history.
|Christmastime Plaza Mayor|
Local salamantinos were finishing up their afternoon strolls and outnumbered any camera-toting tourists; fur-coat-clad grannies huddled together on benches while dads carried their kids on their shoulders to gaze at the giant Christmas ornament in the center. The icing on the cake was the exterior lighting that ran all the way around this Baroque masterpiece of emotion and community.
Old Cathedral: mysterious Romanesque
|Central nave from the balcony|
Right over the main altar, if you look up you’ll see a stunning Byzantine-style dome, crafted in two drums of bright, vertical windows that counter the notion that medieval churches were all dark and gloomy. This unique dome reminded me a lot of similar ones I saw earlier in the fall on Zamora’s cathedral and in the Colegiata de Toro—both of which were only an hour’s drive north in Zamora province.
|The dome and battlements, shadowed by the New Cathedral|
|Where the walls of the New Cathedral meet the Old|
New Cathedral: glorious Gothic
|Central nave seen from the upper walkway|
I got to go up to the upper balcony in the catedral vieja and get a different perspective of the long, Romanesque central nave…and walk around the unique Byzantine-style dome from the outside. I got to lean up against the railings high above the floor in the catedral nueva…and get on the same level with the Baroque dome while hanging out in the bell tower. Although it was windy and brisk beneath the church bells, the sun was shining again, and I was grateful for the short time I had in this warm, inviting city.
|The dome seen from the bell tower|
For more pictures, check out my album on Flickr.