Spain seems to be a very touristic country. And, indeed, it is, but there are still some places that are mainly appreciated by locals and do not use to appear in the classical routes. When going back to Barcelona after our roadrip through the centre and the north of Portugal, we had to stop somewhere to spend the night. And we didn’t have to think much to choose a destination. We searched the route back home on Google Maps and inmediately decided that we would stop in Burgos. Its extraordinary Gothic cathedral was a good reason for it.
We left Miranda do Douro and drove towards Burgos. After some days sleeping at campsites or urban hotels, we wanted to end our trip with a rural getaway. Therefore, we booked one room in the charming Posada del Pintor, a typical Castilian house where modern comfort lives together with an ancient architecture. The house is located 15 minutes driving in the west of Burgos. This guesthouse is owned by a nice couple who explained to us the story of the refurbishment of that building and managed to offer an amazing dinner with typical products of the area unless we had not booked it. Posada del Pintor literally means “Painter’s Guesthouse” and that’s because he is a true artist that has filled the walls of the house with his works. We left that place with a smile on our faces so we think that we shall mention it.
And the next day we arrived to the city centre of Burgos and got impressed by the Cathedral: it was even more beautiful than we thought. We couldn’t wait to enter that masterpiece. It seems that the official webpage does not have an English version, but you can find useful information for visitors in several languages here. The outside of this temple, built as from 1221 in the French Gothic style, is amazing, but inside it wonders abound. These are, in our humble opinion, the most impressive elements of the Burgos Cathedral:
1. Chapel of the Condestable
The construction of this chapel was ordered by the Condestables of Castile Pedro Fernández de Velasco and Mencía de Mendoza y Figueroa to serve as a family pantheon. Works started on 1482, when the Gothic stlyle moved to the Renaissance one. In the centre of the chapel, the tomb of the founders, made from Carrara marble.
2. Main altarpiece
The Cathedral has a good number of chapels and, consequently, some altarpieces of a great beauty. But the main altarpiece (the one placed in the main nave) might be the most magnificient one. It was built by two brothers, Rodrigo de la Haya and Martín de la Haya, in the Reinassance style. In the centre, you will find a XV century image of Santa María la Mayor, to whom the Cathedral is devoted.
3. Choir stalls
The choir is located in the main nave, just before the transept of the temple. We were amazed by the stalls: 103 seats made from walnut wood. They were carved as from 1505, among others, by Felipe Bigarny, an sculptor from Burgundy. In the seats you will find represented scenes from the Old Testament, the New Testament and the saints calendar.
4. Dome of the transept
When in the transept, if you raise our eyes to the ceiling, you will find the stunning “cimborrio” (the dome). At your feet, the tomb of Rodrígo Díaz de Vivar (El Cid Campeador) and Doña Jimena, a simple marble slab. El Cid, half a knight, half a mercenary, is one of the most important figures of the Spanish Reconquest. Now his remains are found just below the cimborrio, which was rebuilt by Juan de Vallejo over four columns. Undoubtedly, the star of the temple.
Of course there is much more to see in Burgos apart from its renowned Cathedral. The city itself is quite interesting and even has a museum devoted to the human evolution and a Cistercian monastery (called Monasterio de las Huelgas). However, we had to drive back to Barcelona in the afternoon, so we just walked around the city centre and visited the streets where most of the bars are located to have some tapas for lunch. As we already did in our dinner the day before, we tried the typical “morcilla” (black pudding). We hope to return to the region soon to enjoy it with more time.