This is one of the largest squares in Spain and lies right at the entrance of the medieval town. Its origins are found in the 11thcentury, when the space was used for the great traditional holidays. The buildings are from different eras, with all of them having a 16th century ground floor colonnade. On the northwestern side, the Bujaco Tower is an eye-catching building, now a symbol of the city. It was built during the Arab rule, on top of Roman foundations. The origins of its name may come from the local word for straw dolls, bujacos.
This town took its name from Count Rodrigo González Girón. It was he who, in the mid-12th century, banished the Moors from this region once and for all, and built this town on top of a former Roman castrum, itself built atop a Celtic settlement. Its solid fortifications speak to its position on the border with Portugal. Paradoxically, although it is one of the most well-defended European borders on both sides, this frontier was the most stable in all of Europe’s history and has remained this way for 500 years. The only fighting to take place here was against Napoleon’s armies. Nowhere is the relationship between centre and periphery more marked than in such citadels.
The construction of this square began in 1729, by order of Phillip V, with the square primarily intended for bull fights. Today, it is seen as one of the most beautiful squares in Spain and in the whole of Europe. The space offers a paradoxical optical illusion. From the ground it appears to be a perfect quadrangle, but when seen from an aerial photo, the shape is irregular. The baroque façades of the building, which surround and define the square’s perimeter, seem perfectly symmetrical at first glance, but in reality, none of them are the same height. Entire books have been written about this square in Salamanca, and, to this day, it is considered the absolute model of Spanish squares.