Burgos Cathedral is located, obviously, in the city of Burgos, in the region of Castilla Leon in central Spain. The building that we see today stands on site of the original building and was built in 1221 on the orders of King Ferdinand III (the Holy) and Bishop Mauricio.
The building, which dominates the whole town, was designed by Master Enrique, who also built the Gothic cathedral in León. The Puerta Real or Santa María portal in the main façade is from the 18th Century. Above it is a beautiful rose window. The main façade also has two further doors, and these have bas-reliefs by Juan Poves (1653).
On each side there is a tall, elegant tower (276 feet high); these were built in 1442 by Juan de Colonia and make an unusual sight with their carvings, arabesques, columns, statues, and spires.
Burgos Cathedral – Visitor guide
How much time do you need to visit the Burgos Cathedral?
We estimate you will need to 2 hours to visit the Cathedral. This will give you enough time to admire the cathedral from the outside and also from the inside.
You will find below the most interesting items in the Cathedral of Burgos. With the entrance fees, you will be given an audio guide which will be very helpful to get the most out of the visit.
Burgos Cathedral Exterior
The Puerta de Sarmental on the Southern side is the most beautiful of all in Burgos Cathedral. It stands at the top of a long grand flight of steps between the sacristy and the cloisters. This has the effect of reducing the conspicuous height differential between the floor of the church and the street.
Built-in French Gothic style (as a matter of fact Notre Dame of Paris is considered as the “Mother” of the Burgos Cathedral) it has a fine tympanum with Christ teaching together with the Evangelists and Apostles. The Puerta de la Coronería on the Northern side has a 13C bas-relief of Christ in Judgement between Mary and St.John.
The left transept has a fine double staircase by Diego de Siloé with curious reliefs and gilded banisters with rich Renaissance decoration. The fourth door, the Puerta de la Pellejería, also on the Northern side, is Plateresque and the work of Francisco de Colonia.
Burgos Cathedral Interior
Inside the Cathedral there is an unusually large octagonal chapel, the Condestable Chapel. This has eight pinnacles and inside, richly decorated walls with coats-of-arms by Simon de Colonia and Diego de Siloé. It dates from the end of the 15C-like the huge dome over the crossing, also with eight pinnacles, which was finished by Juan de Vallejo.
The Cathedral of Burgos has a nave and two aisles, a transept, and an ambulatory. The nave is 348 ft. long, the transept 194 ft. The windows have pointed arches and stained glass. The Plateresque dome vaulting was begun by Felipe de Borgoña and completed by Juan de Vallejo.
The grilles separating the transept from the choir are ornate wrought metal in Castilian-Aragonese style. The choir stalls, which comprise 103 separate walnut stalls, are all inlaid with boxwood, a masterpiece by Felipe Bigarny, who also carved the white stone reliefs in the ambulatory behind the altar. In the middle of the choir is the copper-covered tomb of the founder, Bishop Mauricio. The outward-facing side of the chorus is decorated with paintings by Juan Rizi.
El Cid and Infante Don Juan
One of the things the Cathedral of Burgos is most known for is that under the vaulted dome is the tomb of El Cid Campeador and his wife Doña Jimena. At the foot of the high altar are the tombs of the Infante Don Juan, one of Alfonso X’s sons, and other members of the royal family.
The Papamoscas Clock
In a corner of the nave is the famous 16C ‘Papamoscas’ clock, with a figure whose mouth opens and shuts on the striking of the hour. The “Papamoscas” is one of the most famous items in the Cathedral.