Last week, I traveled to Galicia, Spain to begin filming what will be a short documentary on the lives of my remaining family there. My mother was born there (the third youngest of 16 children) and as I’ve come to know my aunts and uncles there, I’ve found their story of survival and perseverance (having been born in extreme poverty under the rule of general and dictator Francisco Franco) to be rather remarkable.
The remaining aunts and uncles live close by in a small town in Galicia (where I interviewed them all) but one uncle lived a 6 hour train ride away in the city of Burgos. So my mother (who was already there visiting her family) and two of my aunts traveled there to wrap up filming. Burgos is a city in northern Spain and the historic capital of Castile, a Spanish historical region. It has about 180,000 inhabitants in the actual city and another 20,000 in the metropolitan area. It has many historic landmarks but for today’s post, I’m going to focus on the Burgos Cathedral.
Its full name is the Catedral de Santa María de Burgos (St. Mary’s Cathedral of Burgos), and it is the only Spanish cathedral that has earned UNESCO World Heritage accreditation independent of its surroundings. The cathedrals of Salamanca, Santiago de Compostela, Ávila, Córdoba, Toledo and Cuenca are all World Heritage Sites, but they are recognized together with the historic districts they are located in.
Burgos Cathedral features a rich variety of architectural styles, which range from 13th century to 17th century gothic and include restoration works carried out in the 19th and 20th centuries. The cathedral’s first stone was placed in 1221 under the direction of Maestro Enrique, a Frenchman who would go on to head the construction of the Leon Cathedral. Enrique drew inspiration from the Reims Cathedral for the Burgos Cathedral, which was consecrated in 1260, a time when the headpiece, the transept, and the naves were nearly complete.
Works on the side chapels continued until the early 14th century, a time when a new cloister was built. German inspired tower spires were added to the main façade in the 15th century as were the dome and the Condastable Chapel. The dome was destroyed in a storm and rebuilt in the 16th century. In the 18th century, construction finally concluded with the erection of the Chapel of St. Thecla and in 1919 the cathedral became the burial place of Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar (“El Cid”), a Castilian nobleman and military leader in medieval Spain, and his wife Doña Jimena.
I spent parts of two afternoons walking around the Burgos Cathedral and its plazas with my Lumix GH4 and grabbed a few photographs of what is a truly remarkable structure. Enjoy the pics…
The annual Fiesta de las Flores (Flower Festival) just happened to be going on in the Plaza de la Flora
As part of the Fiesta de las Flores, la Puerta del Sarmental (Sarmental Door), which was built between 1230 and 1240 and is accessed from a steep staircase, was also adorned with flowers
A Statue of King Carlos III (King of Spain and the Spanish Indies from 1759 to 1788) is the centerpiece of Plaza Mayor, the main square of Burgos
Casa Consistorial, built by Spanish sculptor and architect Fernando González de Lara in 1791, in the Plaza Mayor
Burgos was a major stop for pilgrims on their way to Santiago de Compostela so here I am taking a photo break next to a statue of a weary pilgrim outside the cathedral
In the Plaza Mayor, a statue of a man reading a newspaper (“Lector de Periódicos”), a tribute to the press
South side of the Cathedral, from the Plaza de San Fernando
View of the cathedral from Plaza Santa María
After circling the Cathedral, we strolled Paseo del Espolón, the most central and popular wooded and landscaped walkway Burgos
Our final stop before heading out for “tapas” was a bronze monument of Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar (El Cid) created by Spanish sculptor Juan Cristóbal González Quesada
The following afternoon, we headed up to El Castillo de Burgos (Burgos Castle) which is on the hill of San Miguel raised 75 m above the city. It offered us quite the view of Burgos and its remarkable cathedral.