The city of Burgos (Burgos) is located 230 km north of Madrid at an altitude of 856 m in the foothills of the Sierra de la Demanda, which is part of the Iberian mountains.
According to Relationshipsplus, Burgos was founded by King Alfonso III in 884 as one of the strongholds during the war between the Christians and the Moors. In the 10th century, the city was proclaimed the capital of the kingdom of Castile and remained in this status for the 3rd century, until the capital was moved to Valladolid. In the Middle Ages, Burgos was a major center for the wool trade. At the beginning of the 20th century, during the civil war, Burgos was chosen as the location of the central headquarters of the dictator Francisco Franco. In addition, Burgos is one of the key points of the most important pilgrimage Way of St. James (El Camino de Santiago), which leads to the tomb of the Apostle James, located in the far north of Spain in the city of Santiago de Campostela.
The city is divided into two parts by the Arlançon River, which is a tributary of the Duero River. The main attractions are located on the right bank of the river. The main entrances to the Old Town are the Santa Maria arch, preserved from the medieval fortress walls and crowned with stone sculptures of prominent Spanish personalities, to which the Santa Maria bridge leads; and exit from the San Pablo bridge, where the equestrian statue of the national hero of Spain is installed – El Cid. Between these two bridges along the river Arlançon there is a pedestrian Espolon avenue surrounded by trees. This is a great place for a walk. In the center of the Old Town is the most outstanding building of Burgos and one of the most beautiful buildings in Spain in general – the Gothic Cathedral, the construction of which began in the 13th century under King Ferdinand III and continued until the 16th century. The cathedral was conceived as the main temple of the entire kingdom of Castile. Now it is the only cathedral in the country, which was recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. The “openwork” facade of the cathedral is impressive, on both sides of which two towers of the 15th century, crowned with spiers, rise to 84 m. The facade is decorated with stone carvings, statues and arches. Inside the cathedral are the graves of the national hero of Spain, the knight El Cid, who lived in the 11th century near Burgos ., and his wife. According to legend, El Cid did not lose a single battle. The cathedral also houses a relic, the sword of Tyson, believed to have belonged to El Cid. In addition, inside the cathedral, the 15th century altarpiece and the 16th century gilded staircase by Diego de Siloe deserve special attention. Also of interest are the cathedral’s 19 chapels, its interior galleries surrounding small courtyards, and the cathedral’s museum, which houses religious art.
Near the cathedral there are two small churches of San Nicolas of the 15th century with an impressive altar telling about the life of Saint Nicholas, and San Esteban, where the Retablo Museum is located with a collection of altar paintings from the province of the 16th-18th centuries.
Be sure to go for a walk in Castillo Park, which is located on a high city hill, offering a beautiful view of Burgos. The top of the hill is occupied by a castle, which was erected on the site of a castle of the 9th century, destroyed during the war with Napoleon.
In addition, in Burgos it is worth visiting the Museum of Burgos , which is located in the 16th century palace of Casa Miranda and which tells about the history and culture of the region; the nearby Museum of the Evolution of Humankind, opened on the basis of archaeological finds discovered in the province; Museum of Fine Arts, housed in the Casa de Angulo; palace Casa del Cordon, where Christopher Columbus met with the rulers of the country after his second travel to America; church San Lesmes, erected in the 15th century in honor of the patron saint of the city, and San Gil of the 14th century.
On the western outskirts of the city is the Cistercian monastery of Santa Maria Real de las Huelgas. The monastery was founded in 1187 by King Alfonso VIII and his wife as a royal pantheon: the rulers of Castile and their families are buried here. In addition, the Rikas-Telas Museum was opened in the monastery, where items of clothing of royal people and jewelry were exhibited, in which they were escorted on their “last” journey.
On the eastern outskirts of Burgos, in a small forest, is the Carthusian monastery of Cartuja de Miraflores. 15th century. Inside the monastery, of particular interest are the tombs of King Juan II and his wife Isabella of Portugal – the parents of Queen Isabella I, as well as their son Prince Alfonso. The tombstones were made by the prominent Spanish sculptor of the 15th century, Gil de Siloé. He also completed the main altar composition. According to legend, gold was used in this composition, which was brought from the very first travels of the conquistadors to the New World.
From Burgos, you can go to the city of Atapuerca, near which is located the Atapuerca Archaeological Park, recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. It is located 20 km east of Burgos. These places are famous for the fact that the oldest in Western Europe remains of the ancestor of Homo sapiens were discovered in the local caves, presumably about 1 million years old, as well as tools from the Paleolithic and Bronze Age. Atapuerca is one of the most significant archaeological sites not only in Spain, but also in Europe as a whole, because here you can trace the evolution of man from prehistoric times (1 million years ago) to the present. Also here you can see ancient tools, the remains of ancient animals, as well as rock paintings up to 40 thousand years old. Tourists are offered a 2-hour guided tour of the main Atapuerca excavation sites.
In the northern part of the province of Burgos, it is worth visiting the city of Onia (Ona) with its monastery of San Salvador, which in the Middle Ages was considered one of the most important monasteries of Castile. The monastery was built over many centuries, starting from the 11th century, so its architecture combines Romanesque and Gothic styles, as well as Baroque and Mudéjar styles. The famous Castilian counts Sancho III and Sancho Garcia were buried here. The monastery is interesting for its powerful fortress walls, the Estrella arch, the churches of San Salvador and San Juan and the monastery museum with a rich collection of textiles, tapestries, paintings, sculptures and engravings. Nearby, on the banks of one of the largest rivers in Spain – the Ebro, is the city of Frias (Frias), which was founded in the 9th century under King Alfonso VIII. In the city, it is worth seeing the castle of the Dukes of Frias, the church of San Vicente, the convent of Santa Maria de Vadillo and the medieval stone bridge with a tower of the 14th century, thrown over the Ebro River. The Ebro River in the province of Burgos separates the Cantabrian and Iberian mountains. It flows through very picturesque places, so rafting enthusiasts often choose it for their vacation. Rafting trips on the Ebro River start from the village of Valdenoceda.