Salamanca is a city in western Spain, in the community of Castile and León. Because it is known for its beautiful buildings and urban environment, the Old City was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988. It is the most important university city in Spain and is known for its contributions to the teaching of the Spanish language. Salamanca supplies 16% of Spain's market and attracts thousands of international students, generating a diverse multicultural environment.
It is situated approximately 200 km (124 mi) west of Madrid and 80 km (50 mi) east of the Portuguese border. The University of Salamanca, which was founded in 1218, is the oldest university in Spain and the third oldest western university. With its 30,000 students, the university is, together with tourism, the economic engine of the city. Salamanca is the capital of the province of Salamanca, which belongs to the autonomous community of Castile and Leon (Castilla y León). With a metropolitan population around 192,000 it is the second most populated urban area in Castile and Leon, after the capital Valladolid (369,000), and closely followed by Leon (187,000) and Burgos (176,000).