The portal to hell

The portal to hell in Salamanca is a bit of an ancient marketing triumph.

There was an old chapel and the church surrounding it was demolished. The chapel was converted into a storeroom for a bakery and eventually bricked up and forgotten. More time passed and in parallel a legend grew up about a portal to hell in Salamanca where Satan taught his pupils irreligious arts. This legend was so popularised that in South America similar satanic places are referred to as ‘salamancas’. Then the storeroom was uncovered and restored and is now the Cueva de Salamanca and sits as a seriously underwhelming tourist attraction.

Can you see Hell?

It’s made further weird because it is supposed to be a portal down into hell and the only steps go up (there’s a gate at the top). It probably made more sense in the past when you accessed it from the top of the steps, but now its just ridiculous.

Walls – Roman and medieval

Far more interesting was the nearby display about the growth of Salamanca as a city and in particular about the walls. I found it particularly interesting that there were three waves of wall building each of which built on top of the other because there was an obvious place to build to protect the top of the hill.

Finally, I visited the Huerto de Calixto y Melibea which is a very pretty garden tied to a book that every Spanish schoolchild reads at some point in their schooldays.

Further plans were pretty much squashed by the rain that kept on starting and stopping. So Spanish homework won out on the afternoon.

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