The University of Salamanca

The University of Salamanca

The Historical building of the University of Salamanca is one of Salamanca’s most famous sites, alongside the beautiful Plaza Mayor. This university is known as one of the oldest in Europe. When it was built it was intended to be one of the most important Universities of the world, alongside Oxford and Bologna. In the crisis of the 19th century, the number of students dropped to under 500 students and the university was in risk of getting shut down. Now the University hosts over 30,000 students per year and is internationally known for hosting foreign students. It is still regarded as one of the most important universities in the world.

We found an incredible article online that detailed some unique history and legends about the University of Salamanca. There are a ton of cool things that I didn’t know until I read Evelyn’s article. In fact, the below cannot do her article justice, but here is a summary of some of what she said along with a few other details that we’ve learned in our own findings (to see the photos associated with the stories, click the hyperlink above).

Legends about the University of Salamanca

1 A long time ago there was a student at the university studying his doctorate, and every time he’d pass an exam his family would throw a party for the entire city which also included a bullfight. Evelyn explains that they used the bull’s blood to write their son’s name on some of the city’s walls. These markings you can still see on some of the Salamanca buildings.


2 One of the professors that taught a the University was arrested for translating the bible into Spanish, which at this point was considered a ‘vulgar’ language.


3 A professor by the name of Unamuno truly believed in the worldwide importance of Spanish culture and the Spanish language. At one point he had a public quarrel at the University with important leaders of Spain (the details of this story and what he actually said, i’m still confused about). Whatever he said nearly caused himself to be lynched on the spot. It was his opponent’s wife that got between the lynchers and Unamuno, ultimately saving him from the ropes. After this public outburst, all of Unamuno’s friends were afraid to be associated with him. It is said that 10 weeks after this event, he died of loneliness and heartbreak.


4 The most famous legend of the Salamanca university is finding the lucky frog in Salamanca. The frog is carved into the facade of the University and hard to spot among the rest of the detailed carvings along this wall. The legend says that if students do not find the frog before graduating, they will fail their courses. Others say that the frog is actually a toad (female frog), symbolizing sex. The skull that the frog sits on symbolizes death and failure. These legends say that the combination of the toad and skull is a reminder to focus on your studies and not to be distracted sexually, as sex can lead to death. Sex = death was very highly believed to be true associations, since most sexually transmitted diseases were incurable and inherently led to death. If you are having a hrs time finding the frog, below is an embedded video on where it’s located…

But wait, if it’s bad luck for your studies not to find the frog, what does it mean if you cheat finding the frog?

Salamanca Frog wall

Salamanca Frog is somewhere around here