Of baroque style, the Clerecía is the name given to the building of the former Royal College of the Holy Spirit of the Society of Jesus, built in Salamanca between the XVII and XVIII centuries. This building, which today houses the Pontifical University of Salamanca, was begun in 1617, by order of Queen Margaret of Austria and Philip III. Its objective was to be the main center for the formation of the Jesuits who would later be sent to the American colonies and the Protestant countries of central Europe. Later, after the expulsion of the Jesuits from Spain, the building passed to the Real Clerecía de San Marcos, hence the abbreviation Clerecía. Subsequently, the Clerecía ceded the building (except for the church) to the Diocese of Salamanca, which installed the Seminary of San Carlos.
In 1940, the Pontifical University of Salamanca was created, instituted by Pope Pius XII, and the Diocese gave the building as its headquarters. Despite the fact that that delivery did not include the temple of the Holy Spirit, the Pontifical University suppressed the worship in it since September 2012 to expose it to tourism. Only weddings of alumni and people linked to the Pontifical University are allowed.
Inside the church, the altarpiece of the main chapel, a work done in 1673 by Juan Fernandez, stands out. The work to gild the altarpiece was completed in 1760. The church, of a single nave with chapels between buttresses, follows the Jesuit scheme of the Roman church of Il Gesú, with four bays and a wide transversal nave that does not protrude.
In addition to being a splendid manifestation of the Baroque, the Clerecía features a magnificent Baroque courtyard, surrounded by a two-story cloister and its great Scala Coeli, or Stairway to Heaven.
So it is that you get to heaven, by a wooden staircase, which at the moment would seem somewhat modern and where you climb about 180 steps to access the towers of the Clerecía de Salamanca. And, as we always say, the climb is well worth it.
The spectacular views of Salamanca are unsurpassed from either tower.
In fact, access from one tower to the other is through an exterior corridor of its roofs, offering spectacular views of this heritage city.
Before going up to the Bellfry, it is necessary to stop, lean out on one of the balconies with huge wooden doors and breathe the air that only being there can be found. Thus, continue to admire the beautiful panoramic views of the historic center of Salamanca, and from where you can see the Cathedral of Salamanca.
In addition, being already in the towers, you can observe very closely the architectural decoration very rich in its surfaces, typical of the baroque.
Already in the Body of Bells the experience is fabulous. I mean, we made it! And, of course, you have to take a photo to serve as evidence, and then begin the descent down the wooden “Scala Coeli”, which are really very bearable.