Burgos (Burgos)

  • Cathedral of Burgos / PAB.
  • Burgos, during the festivity of El Cid, the first weekend in october / ALC.
  • Burgos castle / ALC.
  • Artistic treasures inside the Burgos cathedral / Blas Carrión.
  • The equestrian sculpture of El Cid is the most photographed one in the city of Burgos / ALC.
  • The old town of Burgos / Manuel Muñoz García.
  • The city of Burgos celebrate the exile of el Cid in the first weekend of October / ALC.
  • Every year Burgos celebrates a festival called Fin de Semana Cidiano during the first weekend of october / ALC.

The city of Burgos is "emotionally" linked to el Cid although Rodrigo was most likely born in Vivar spending much of his army life in the islamic territories of Zaragoza and Valencia; even in the Song of Mío Cid its inhabitants, fearing the wrath of King Alfonso VI, denied aid to el Cid. Nevertheless Burgos is the city of el Cid par excellence. In the days of Rodrigo and Alfonso VI Burgos had approximately 2,000 inhabitants. It had also ceased to be a military outpost to become an emerging commercial village thanks to the Way of Saint James (declared World Heritage Site), progressively acquiring political and religious importance since the late 10th century.

There is a route that runs through the places that appear in the Song of el Cid : after crossing the Arch of San Martín, at the bottom of the castle, Solar del Cid rises, with a simple monument to his memory. The tradition frames in the church of Santa Águeda the legendary Jura de Santa Gadea, in which el Cid forced King Alfonso VI to swear that he had not participated in the murder of his brother, King Sancho. According to the Cantar, el Cid abandoned the city by the Gate or Arch of Santa María, crossing the Arlanzón river and camping outside the walls, in the glera, since King Alfonso had prohibited to help el Cid or give him shelter on pain of losing his property "and the eyes of the face ". Before, the Cid knelt in the church of Santa María, where the Gothic cathedral stands today. The remains of Rodrigo and Doña Jimena are currently in the Cathedral.

In the Arch of Santa María, in addition to the remains of Mudejar plasterwork, there is a Cidian room where you can see from a facsimile reproduction of the Cantar until... the radio bone of the Castilian knight's left arm! Following the Espolón, a popular tree-lined promenade of the city, we arrive at the Palace of the Provincial Council of Burgos, in whose dome the impressive murals of painter Vela Zanetti can be seen: they reflect a different Cid from the traditional legendary aesthetic. Next to the Provincial Palace stands the famous equestrian statue of Cid, by Juan Cristóbal, indicating with his sword the way to Valencia. Next to the statue stands the bridge of San Pablo, work of the sculptor Lucarini, with eight statues representing friends and family members of the historic and legendary Rodrigo. The city of Burgos has published a tourist brochure that includes the most significant places and landmarks related to Rodrigo. You can download it by clicking here or in the download area that you will find on the right of your screen.


Visiting the city

Burgos is a monumental city. The Arlanzón river crosses the city and has modeled and conditioned it. The medieval city was on its right bank. It is one of the best-maintained urban rivers with a healthy natural life on its banks. We recommend to visit Burgos with the Arlanzón river as a guide and companion. One of the most "noble" ways to enter in the old city is crossing the river by the Santa María Bridge under the arch of the same name to face with the Cathedral.

The deserved fame of the Cathedral of Burgos, a World Heritage Site, should not overshadow the visit to other nearby monuments, such as the church of San Nicolás de Bari, whose altarpiece of the 16th century, attributed to Francisco de Colonia, will surprise the unsuspecting traveler.

The old town of Burgos is very attractive and easy to visit: it is the most popular area of ​​restaurants and bars. In recent years has developed an exciting culinary culture. In addition to the excellent religious heritage, fundamentally Gothic, you can go to the CAB, a "coquettish" contemporary art museum, also in the historic center. Nearby is the old castle of Burgos, from where you can see a wide view of the city. From the castle you will inevitably see a huge modern building: three large glass boxes that constitute the Complex of Evolution and whose banner is the MEH, the Museum of Human Evolution, which shows some of the most important paleontological discoveries of the Sierra de Atapuerca , World Heritage and world reference to understand the origin and development of our species. Very close to the MEH is the Museum of Burgos, little known but of great interest to history buffs -particularly to the Middle Ages-, because it exhibits interesting pieces of this time including the Tizona, the sword that traditionally was considered the sword of el Cid. Always following the course of Arlanzón river, downstream, and outside the historic center, we can go for a walk along the pleasant Paseo de la Isla to the Royal Monastery of Las Huelgas, where we arrived shortly after crossing the Puente de Malatos (Malatos bridge), part of the Way of Saint James.

If you decide to follow the Camino del Cid by bike or by car you will cross, following the Arlanzón but in this case upstream, a leafy park called Fuentes Blancas, a place of leisure for many burgaleses. There  you can visit the Cartuja de Miraflores (Miraflores Charterhouse) one of the Spanish jewels of the late gothic, unavoidable appointment for the fans to the art in general and the sculpture in particular.

We suggest

  • The bike lane: one of the best ways to visit Burgos is by bike. The main bike path follows more than 10km along the left bank of the Arlanzón River, allowing a fast displacement for cyclists, from Fuentes Blancas and the Quinta Park to Parral Park, with the Monastery of Las Huelgas and the University as points of interest. It is a relaxing walk and ensures good views of the city.
  • Two small, but interesting, museums seal our safe conduct letter, both in the historic center of the city. One of them is the Military Museum, free entry, located in a neo-Gothic building, former headquarter of the General Captaincy. The other one is the Fadrique de Basilea (Fadrique of Basel) Museum, next to the Plaza Mayor: in 1499 Fadrique de Basilea published in Burgos the first edition of La Celestina, one of the most important Spanish literary works. Here you can see a reproduction of a similar press. The owners also exhibit an important collection of medieval and Renaissance facsimiles and also, of course, reproductions of Cidian documents, all for sale. The visit is free if you sign on entering your safe conduct letter.
  • Las Huelgas Reales Monastery. It is outside of the historic center but we strongly recommend it to visit. This monastery was a center of power and holiday of the Castilian kings during the Late Middle Ages: inside there are many surprises, not only artistic. You can do it by walking or by bike (it is 2 km from the door of the Cathedral): the walk is very pleasant with good weather, especially if you cross the Paseo de la Isla, next to the river: a park of almost a kilometer of length built in the 19th century with a huge variety of plant species: from the Spanish fir to the cedar of the Himalayas, passing through some magnificent specimens of black pine and sequoia. In addition, in the walk you will find a small jewel of Romanesque art, unfortunately very damaged by time and a failed restoration: the Romanesque doorway of Cerezo de Río Tirón.
  • Every year, during the first weekend of October, the Cid´s Weekend is celebrated in Burgos. It´s a popular festival in which the figure of el Cid is remembered through representations and medieval recreations, markets, camps, and tournaments.

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Useful information

Rev. ALC: 03.07.18