Salamanca is located within the region of Castilla Leon in the central part of the Iberian Peninsula. The province of Salamanca shares its western border with Portugal, and the town of Salamanca is only about 2 hours drive from Madrid.
The city has approx. 170,000 inhabitants and although it is a small town, it has a good infrastructure and offers nearly all types of free time activities.
The weather in Salamanca is like the rest of central Spain; during the summer it is warm and dry and in the winter cold with some rain and occasional snow.
Salamanca is famous for its university, which is the third oldest university in Europe dating back to 1218; in fact the university has influenced Salamanca's history, daily life and atmosphere a great deal.
Before becoming a famous university town, Salamanca also enjoyed an interesting history. The first settlements in the area date back to about 2000 b.C with different tribes living in the area. Later on the town where inhabited by Greeks and Carthaginians and during the Romans Empires dominance in Spain Salamanca was an important agricultural area and also an obligatory stop on the silver route crossing Spain.
During the Moorish epoch the area of Salamanca was located in between the lines of the Moorish and Christian armies and therefore did not play an important role.
After the fall of the Moors Salamanca started to grew in size and after the declaration of the Spanish king to turn the city into a university town Salamanca became an important town. The golden period of Salamanca was in the 16th century where the gold coming in from South American helped finance many of the beautiful monuments and buildings (including parts of the university) which pride Salamanca today.
During the French invasion in 1808 led by Napoleon, many of the city's treasures were destroyed and the university was nearly closed down. Apart from the Civil War in the 1930's, Salamanca has experienced a stable period of continued growth.
Today apart from a famous university town Salamanca is also a modern town housing international conferences and with important cultural events. In 2002 the city was named European Cultural Capital and has in 2005 hosted the Iberian-South American conference with the participation of presidents from Spain, Portugal and South America.
For more information about Salamanca see this Salamanca Guide.