Burgos was once the capital of the Castile and Leon realms. However this 9th century town is, above all, the home town of El Cid whose statue guards the Puente de San Pablo. In more recent times, Franco established his headquarters here during the Civil War.
Sightseeing in Burgos
The Casa del Cordon – a 15th century building where Ferdinand and Isabella met Columbus on return from his second voyage to the New World.
The Arco de Santo Maria – a solid , turreted gateway crowned with statues that opens to the old part of the town.
The Iglesia de Santa Agueda – the church where the newly crowned Alphonse VI swore to El Cid, whom he wanted in his entourage, that he had played no part in the murder of his brother, Sancho II.
The Monasterio de las Huelgas Reales – a 12th century Cistercian convent where only women from high society could become nuns. Besides holding the tombs of some of the first kings of Castile, the convent has a precious collection of cloths and jewels on display in the Museo de Ricas Telas.
The 15th century Cartuja de Miraflores just outside of Burgos, has the graves of King Juan II and Isabella of Portugal, the parents of Isabella the Catholic.
The Cathedral – begun in 1221 this slender, opulent Gothic church became a mausoleum to El Cid, who is buried here together with his wife, Ximena, in the centre of the transept.
El Cid Campeador
Rodrigo Diaz was born in 1043 into a noble family in Vivar, near Burgos, and was brought up at the court of Sancho II, King of Castile, to whom he became a valiant lieutenant. When Sancho was murdered in 1072, he served under his brother who was crowned Alphonse II and who took him into service only after assuring that he had nothing to do with the crime.
He fell into disgrace and, exiled from the Castile court in 1081, went back to Burgos with his wife, Ximena, a cousin of the king. He then offered his services first to the Moorish king of Saragozza, then to the king of Valencia. The Muslim soldiers gave him the Arabic title of Sid (master) which became Cid and was coupled with the nickname he already had, Campeador (the battle winner).
Forever loyal, he never wanted to fight against his ‘own’ king and in 1094 he reconquered Valencia for the Christians and remained there as ruler until his death in 1099. His wife brought the hero’s body back to Burgos in 1102, to bury him in the cathedral.