Burgos is a splendid historic city of 170,000 inhabitants. It is located in northwestern Spain, in the Castile and Leon region. The history of Burgos begins in the year 884, when Diego Porcelos, second Count of Castile, repopulated the area with the intention of forming a bastion against the continuous Arab incursions.
From this period are the remains of Castillo of Burgos, which dominates the city from a hill. Positioned on the road to Santiago, and a frontier place, Burgos became an important center of Castile. In 1075 it became an episcopal see. The heyday of the city occurred between the thirteenth and sixteenth centuries.
Testimony of the importance that Burgos had in this period are the important works of art present, three above all: the Gothic Cathedral, the monastery of las Huelgas and the Miraflores Charterhouse (Cartuja de Miraflores).
WHAT TO SEE: THE MAIN ATTRACTIONS OF BURGOS
A WONDERFUL GOTHIC CATHEDRAL
The beautiful Gothic cathedral of Burgos, in 1984 was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The church was built between the thirteenth and sixteenth centuries, in its architecture the entire history of Gothic art is represented. Inside there are interesting pictorial masterpieces, chapels, tombs and painted windows.
The cathedral, whose construction was started in 1221, at the behest of Ferdinand III of Castile “the Saint” and Bishop Maurice of Burgos, has French influences, while the towers by Juan de Colonia (Hans von Koln) are from the 15th century and are inspired by German Gothic. Behind the altar is the magnificent Capilla of the Condestable (1486) with 16th century funeral statues. Burgos Cathedral is also the burial place of Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar, called El Cid, 11th century war hero.
A GREAT RICHNESS OF CHURCHES AND MONASTERIES
In addition to the Cathedral, Burgos has more religious monuments than any other Spanish city except Toledo. Worthy of note: the church of San Esteban, the church of San Gil, the church of San Nicolás, the church of Santa Águeda, the church of de Santa María la Real y Antigua and the monumental Conjunto of the Plaza de San Juan.
Among the civil architecture of the city, of the XV-XVI centuries, the following are worthy of note: the Casa del Cordón, the Casa de Miranda, the Hospital de San Juan and the Hospital de la Concepción, the Arco de San Esteban, the Arco de Santa María, the Castillo (9th century) and the medieval walls. Other interesting buildings are finally the Palacio de Capitanía, the Palacio de Castilfalé and the Palacio de la Diputación.
The Monastery of las Huelgas, on the outskirts of the city, was built starting in 1187 at the behest of King Alfonso VIII. His style is a mixture of Gothic and Byzantine, the cloisters are very beautiful. The monastery was intended for royal pantheón. Near the monastery is the Hospital del Rey, always founded by Alfonso VIII.
TO SEE IN THE SURROUNDINGS OF BURGOS
Miraflores Charterhouse (Cartuja de Miraflores), a monastery built by Juan de Colonia between 1454 and 1488, is located three kilometers from the city center. Inside is the marble mausoleum of King John II of Castile and his wife Isabella of Portugal, a masterpiece by Gil de Yes.
Just 16 km from Burgos there is another site registered in 2000 in the UNESCO World Heritage List: the archaeological site of Atapuerca. The caves of the Sierra di Atapuerca contain rich deposits of human fossils dating back up to a million years ago and represent the oldest and most abundant find of human presence in Europe.