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Burgos is a city of northern Spainmarker, at the edge of the central plateau, with about 178,000 inhabitants in the city proper and another 15,000 in its suburbs. It is the capital of the province of Burgosmarker, in the autonomous community of Castile and Léonmarker. The Burgos Laws or Leyes de Burgos were promulgated there in 1512.


View of Burgos Castle, built in the year 884 A.D.
Early humans occupied sites around Burgos as early as 800,000 years ago.When the Romans took possession of what is now the province of Burgos the site had been a Celtiberian city. In Roman times it belonged to Hispania Citerior ("Hither Spain") and then to Hispania Tarraconensis. In the fifth century the Visigoths drove back the Suebi, then the Arabs occupied almost all of Castile in the eighth century, though only for a brief period, and left little if any trace of their occupation. Alfonso III the Great, king of Leónmarker reconquered it about the middle of the ninth century, and built several castles for the defence of Christendom, which was then extended through the reconquest of lost territory. The region came to be known as Castile (Latin castella), i.e. "land of castles".

Burgos was founded in 884 as an outpost of this expanding Christian frontier, when Diego Rodríguez "Porcelos", count of Castile, governed this territory with orders to promote the increase of the Christian population; with this end in view he gathered the inhabitants of the surrounding country into one fortified village, whose Visigothic name of Burgos signified consolidated walled villages (Gothic baurgs). The city began to be called Caput Castellae ("Cabeza de Castilla" or "Head of Castile"). The county (condado) of Burgos, subject to the Kings of Leon, continued to be governed by counts and was gradually extended; one of these counts, Fernán González, established his independence.

In the eleventh century the city became the see of a Catholic bishop and the capital of the Kingdom of Castile. Burgos was a major stop for pilgrims on their way to Santiago de Compostelamarker and a centre of trade between the Bay of Biscaymarker and the south, which attracted an unusually large foreign merchant population, who became part of the city oligarchy and excluded other foreigners. Throughout the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries Burgos was a favourite seat of the kings of León and Castile and a favoured burial site. The consejomarker or urban commune of Burgos was firmly in the hands of an oligarchic class of caballeros villanos, the "peasant knights" of Burgos, who provided the monarchs with a mounted contingent: in 1255 and 1266 royal charters granted to those citizens of Burgos who owned horses and could arm themselves relief from taxes, provided that they continue to live within the city walls The merchant oligarchy succeeded the cathedral chapter as the major purchasers of land after 1250; they carried on their mercantile business in common with municipal or royal functions and sent their sons to England and Flanders to gain experience in overseas trade. A few families within the hermandades or confraternities like the Sarracín and Bonifaz succeeded in monopolising the post of alcalde, or mayor; a special court, the alcalde del rey was first mentioned at Burgos in 1281 By the reign of Alfonso X the exemption of the non-noble knights and religious corporations, combined with exorbitant gifts and grants to monasteries and private individuals, placed great stress on the economic well-being of the realm.

In the century following the conquest of Sevillemarker (1248), Burgos became a testing-ground for royal policies of increasing power against the consejo, in part by encouraging the right to appeal from the consejo to the king. In 1285 Sancho IV added a new body to the consejo which came to dominate it: the jurado in charge of collecting taxes and overseeing public works; the king reserved the right to select its members. The city perceived that danger to its autonomy came rather from an uncontrolled aristocracy during royal minorities: Burgos joined the hermandades of cities that leagued together for mutual protection in 1295 and 1315. In the fourteenth century official royal intrusion in city affairs was perceived as a palliative against outbreaks of violence by the large excluded class of smaller merchants and artisans, on whom the tax burden fell. The alguacil was the royal official instituted to judge disagreements.

On 9 June 1345, sweeping aside the city government, Alfonso XI established direct royal rule of Burgos through the Regimiento of sixteen appointed men

In 1574 Pope Gregory XIII made its bishop an archbishop, at the request of king Philip II.

Burgos has been the scene of many wars: with the Moors, the struggles between León and Navarre, and between Castile and Aragonmarker. 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.

Geography and climate

Arlanzon River (at winter), in Burgos.
At an elevation of 856 m, the city of Burgos and its provincemarker have a Continental Mediterranean climate (Köppen Dsa), a variant of the Continental climate and Mediterranean climate found in the Meseta Central ("Inner Plateau") of Spain and caused by two principal factors: 1) distance from the sea and 2) higher altitude. Temperature ranges can be extreme and Burgos is much drier than Spain's coastal regions, although there is year-round precipitation. Average annual precipitation is 555mm (21.9") and the average annual relative humidity is 72%. In winter temperatures routinely drop below 0°C (32°F) and snowfalls are common, while the summer months see average daily high temperatures of approximately 26°C (78.8°F). The lowest recorded temperature in Burgos was -21°C (-5.8°F) on 20 January 1885. The highest recorded temperature was 42°C (107.6°F) on 13 August 1987.

Main sights

Burgos is rich in ancient churches and convents. The three most notable are the cathedral, with its chapel of the Condestables de Castilla, the monastery of Las Huelgas, and the Carthusianmonastery of Miraflores. In addition, there are the collegiate churches of Lermamarker, Villadiegomarker, Pampliegamarker, Palenzuelamarker, Covarrubias.Minor notable churches are: San Esteban, San Gil (Sancti Aegidii), San Pedro, San Cosme y San Damian, Santiago (Sancti Jacobi), San Lorenzo and San Lesmes (Adelelmi).The Convento de la Merced, occupied by the Jesuits, and the Hospital del Rey are also of historic and architectural interest.

Among the other interesting architectural structures, in the walls of the city are the famous gateway of Santa María, erected for the first entrance of the Emperor Charles V, and the arch of Fernán González.

Gothic Cathedral

The GothicCathedral at Burgos, begun in 1221, and construction spanned mainly from the 13th to 15th centuries. It was declared a World Heritage Site. The west front is flanked by towers terminating in octagonal spires covered with open stonework traceries. The middle section, which serves for an entrance, has three alabaster pilasters, the intercolumnar spaces bearing panel-pictures representing the martyrdom of saints. The façade possessed ornate and fantastic surface decoration.

The octagonal chapel of the Condestable, in florid, thus highly sculpted, Gothicdesign, has a roof is finished with balustraded turrets, needle-pointed pinnacles, and statues. In the lower portion, coats of arms, shields, and crouching lions have been worked into the ensemble. The exterior of the sacristy is decorated with carved traceries, figures of angels and armoured knights. The elaborate tabernacle is composed of two octagonal sections in Corinthian style.

Monasterio de las Huelgas

The Monasterio de las Huelgas Reales(Monastery of the Royal Retreats) on the outskirts of the city, was founded in 1180 by king Alfonso VIII, and was begun in a pre-Gothic style, although almost every style has been introduced over many additions. The remarkable cloisters have been described as "unrivalled for beauty both of detail and design, and perhaps unsurpassed by anything in its age and style in any part of Europe" (1911 Encyclopedia Britannica). One cloister has semi-circular arches with delicate and varied columns; the other has an ogival style of early Gothic. The interior of the church has enormous columns supporting its magnificent vault; the entrance is modern. This convent historically benefited from extraordinary privileges granted to its abbess by kings and popes.

Cartuja de Miraflores

The Carthusianmonastery of Mirafloresis situated about four kilometres from the historic city center. Among the treasures of the Charterhouseare the wooden statue of St. Bruno; the wooden choir stalls in the church; and the mausoleum of King John IIand of his wife Isabel, constructed of the marble and with their alabasterrecumbent effigies. Around the top frieze are statues of angels in miniature. The French soldiers in the War of Independence (1814) mutilated this beautiful work, cutting off some of the heads and carrying them away to France.


San Esteban Church, of gothic style was built between the XIII and XIV centuries.

Burgos has an Airport with flights to Barcelona International Airport, Palma de Mallorca, and Paris Orly.

The city also has an international railway station, with a service to Paris. In future, the Spanish high-speed train service, the AVE, will stop at Burgos. In addition, Burgos has an international bus station located in the city centre.

Burgos has done many efforts concerning sustainable mobility, and it has won the CiViTAs City of the Year in 2007, the most important Award at European level and the Energy Globe Award in 2008 (the sustainability nobel awards) in the Air Category for the same reason. The city is the leader of the Spanish cities in terms of sustainable mobility with big efforts in city centre free of cars, free bicycle loan system or public transport 100% clean. Burgos is leading now the CiViNET Network of cities concerned sustainable mobility in Spain and Portugal.


Burgos province is famous for Queso de Burgos, a white cheese which soft and unctious (because it is made with the serum of milk). Although originally made with sheep's milk, now cow's milk or mixtures are more common.Each comarca (rural district) produces a minor variation, and the major dairies produce an industrial product that is acceptable for people with sensitive digestion (it is said to promote good health if taken every day)

Gamonal Battle´s feast day.
El Curpillos´s feast day.
Burgos is blessed with a moderate climate and this fresh cheese was possible to conserve there without the need for curing for more than 10 days, due to the improvement of aseptic industrial production processes this can be been extended to about 30 days at a cool 6°C. Its production reaches 35,000 tons annually.

Morcilla de Burgos a pigs-blood sausage is a staple country food famous across the Iberian peninsula. Spiced with onions and herbs its most noticeable content is rice (often mistaken for fat by foreigners) which makes it one of the lightest and healthiest products of its kind. Oral tradition says that it must be "salty, smooth and piquant". (see Spanish pages :es:Burgos for details)

Both products are regularly found all over Spain sliced and skewered to a slice of baguette bread as 'tapas'(small 'bar-top' treats, often served free with drinks)

International relations

Twin towns — Sister cities

Burgos is twinnedwith:

The mayors of the Flemishmarker Bruges and Burgos signed a treaty on 29 January 2007 in the Bruges’ city hall for future cooperation.This engagement could be seen as a prologue on the opening of the exhibition Comeliness and Madness. This exhibition on Philip the Handsometook place in the Casa del Cordón in Burgos where the monarch died. On 30 January 2007 the exhibition opened in Bruges, the city where Philip the Handsome was born and where the urn with his heart is kept in Onthaalkerk O.L.V.marker.

Burgos and San Juan de los Lagos sponsor and coordinate activities between both populations.


File:Burgos - Catedral 163.jpg|Burgos Cathedralmarker.File:Burgos Cathedral 2005-05-30.jpg|Facade of the Cathedral, with the fontaine of Santa María.File:Burgos Cathedral 01.jpg|The western facade of the cathedral.File:Monasterio de Santa María la Real de Las Huelgas de Burgos de noche.jpg|Abbey of Santa María la Real de Las Huelgasmarker, at night.File:Burgos Santa Maria Arc.jpg|Arco de Santa María.File:Burgos - Arco de Santa Maria 12.JPG|Facade of Arco de Santa María.File:Burgos - Cartuja de Miraflores.jpg|La Cartuja de Miraflores, founded in 1441.File:San esteban 1.jpg|San Esteban Church.File:Burgos - San Gil 1.JPG|San Gil Abad Church.File:Burgos - San Lorenzo 11.JPG|Entrance at San Lorenzo el Real Church.File:Burgos - La Merced 33.JPG|La Merced Church, built between the 15th and 16th centuries.File:Burgos - San Cosme y San Damian 01.jpg|San Cosme y San Damián Church (16th century).File:Casa del Cordón (Puerta).jpg|Entrance of Casa del Cordón (15th century).image:Casa del Cordón (Ventana).jpg|A window of Casa del Cordón.File:Burgos - Museo de Burgos, Casa de Miranda, s. XVI.jpg|Cloister of the Burgos Museum (16th century), its original name was Casa de Miranda.File:Burgos - Convento Sta Dorotea 10.JPG|Santa Dorotea Convent (15th century).File:Burgos - Convento de Santa Clara 04.jpg|Santa Clara Convent (13th century).File:Casa consistorial Burgos di08.JPG|Consistorial house of Burgos.File:Burgos - Arco de San Martin1.jpg|Arco de San Martín.File:Burgos - Arco de Fernan Gonzalez.jpg|Arco de Fernán González.

See also


  1. Teofilo F. Ruiz, "The Transformation of the Castilian Municipalities: The Case of Burgos 1248–1350" Past and Present 77 (November 1977, pp. 3–32), p. 5.
  2. Wright, Joseph, 1892, A Primer of the Gothic Language, glossary & section 182.
  3. It later became the Kingdom of Castile, being sometimes united with Navarre and sometimes with Leon. In the reign of St. Ferdinand III (c. 1200–1252), Leon and Castile were united, but they continued to be called respectively the Kingdom of Leon and the Kingdom of Castile until the nineteenth century.
  4. The Camino de Santiago passed directly through the city, where an urban section of it was called the "French Road" (Ruiz 1977:13).
  5. Ruiz 1977:10.
  6. Ruiz 1977:6-9.
  7. Ruis 1977:23.

Sources and external links

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