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Burgos

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A city of northernwestern Spain, at the edge of the central plateau, Burgos has 166,000 inhabitants in the city proper and another 10,000 in its suburbs. It is the capital of the province of Burgos.

Founded in the 9th century, but retaining its Visigothic name signifying consolidated walled villages (burgos), the city was the seat of a Catholic bishop from the 10th century and became in the 11th century the capital of the kingdom of Castile. Burgos was a major stop for pilgrims on their way to Santiago de Compostela.

Burgos had been a Celtiberian city, part of the Roman province of Hispania Citerior and then of Hispania Tarraconensis. The Visigoths drove back the Suevi, then after a brief Moorish occupation, Alfonso III the Great, king of León reconquered it in the mid 9th century. Diego, count of Porcelos, gathered the inhabitants of the surrounding country into one fortified village, which took the name of Burgos. The city thus defined began to be called Caput Castellae ("chief of the castles"). The territory (condado) of Burgos, subject to the Kings of Leon, continued to be governed by counts and was gradually extended; Fernán González, the greatest of these, established his independence.

In 1574 Pope Gregory XIII made its bishop an archbishop, at the request of Philip II. Burgos still possesses more ecclesiastical monuments than any other Spanish city, not even excepting Toledo. The three most outstanding are the cathedral, with its chapel of the Condestable, the monastery of Las Huelgas, and the Carthusian monastery of Miraflores (see below).

Burgos has been the scene of many wars: with the Moors, the struggles between León and Navarre, and between Castile and Aragon. In the Peninsular War against Napoleonic France, Burgos was the scene of a battle, and again in the 19th century Carlist civil wars of the Spanish succession. During the Spanish Civil War Burgos was the base of Gen. Franco's rebel Nationalist government.

Contents

Burgos cathedral

Main article: Burgos Cathedral

The Gothic Cathedral at Burgos, begun in 1221, displays features of the 13th to 15th centuries. The west front is flanked by towers terminating in octagonal spires covered with open stonework traceries. The façade, in three stories, has triple entrances in ogival arched framing, with a gallery enclosed by a pinnacled balustrade and a delicately-pierced rose window. In the uppermost story there are two ogival double-arched windows and statues on pedestals, crowned with a balustrade of letters carved in stone: PULCHRA ES ET DECORA ("Beautiful art Thou, and graceful"), in the center of which is a statue of the Virgin. There are more balustrades and balconies in the towers, with further open-carved inscriptions: needle-pointed octagonal pinnacles finish the four corners.

The north portal, known as the Portada de la Coronería has statues of the Twelve Apostles. Above, ogival windows and two spires crown the portal. .

The magnificent octagonal Chapel of the Condestable is of flamboyant Gothic, filled with traceries, knights and angels and heraldry.

Burgos Cathedral is the burial place of the 11th-century warrior Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar, El Cid, who was born in a little town near the city, now called Vivar del Cid.

Among the most famous of the bishops of Burgos is the 15th-century scholar and historian Alphonsus a Sancta Maria.

Monasterio de las Huelgas

The monastery dates from 1180. It has two famous cloisters.

Monasterio de Miraflores

The Carthusian monastery of Miraflores, noted for its strict observance, is situated about a kilometre from the historic city center. The mausoleum of King John II and of his wife Isabel, in this monastery, is carved of a waxy white marble.

External link

et:Burgos es:Burgos eo:Burgoso fi:Burgos fr:Burgos nl:Burgos pl:Burgos

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