Burgos Cathedral (Catedral de Santa MarÃa; Catedral de Burgos) is a spectacular example of integral Gothic cathedral, with cloisters, church and annexes located in northern Spain. It is notable for its great size, magnificent Gothic architecture, and unique history. Burgos Cathedral as Frommer's Spain calls it one of Spain's best cathedrals.
CATHEDRAL SANTA MARIA DE BURGOS: THE BURGOS CATHEDRAL
Burgos Cathedral (Catedral de Santa María; Catedral de Burgos) is a spectacular example of integral Gothic cathedral, with cloisters, church and annexes located in northern Spain. It is notable for its great size, magnificent Gothic architecture, and unique history. Burgos Cathedral as Frommer's Spain calls it one of Spain's best cathedrals.
The cathedral is a considerable influence in the evolution of architecture and endures witness to the creative genius of fine architects, sculptures and craftsmen. It is sufficient to call to mind its role in the diffusion in Spain of the forms of French Gothic art of the 13th century. During the 15th and 16th centuries, artists from the Rhineland, Burgundy and Flanders trained Spanish architects and sculptors, thus creating one of the most flourishing schools of the end of the middle ages.
The construction of a cathedral at Burgos was ordered by King Ferdinand III ‘The holy’ of Castile and supervised by Mauricio, the English-born Bishop of Burgos. The first construction started on the site of the former Romanesque cathedral around 1221. Work began at the chevet (east end), which was completed after nine years.
A spectacular view of one of the largest altarpiece in Burgos Cathedral
The high altar was consecrated in 1260, and then there was a long suspension of almost two hundred years before construction started up again and continued over more then one hundred years. The cathedral was finally completed in about 1567, with the addition of the lantern spire over the main crossing.
The architects principally responsible for its construction were a Frenchman named Enrique (who also worked on Leon Cathedral) in the 13th century and a German named John of Cologne (Juan de Colonia) in the 15th century. The latter was discovered and hired by the bishop of Burgos while attending the Council of Constance in 1417.
Gothic sculptures on the Puerta de la Coroneria
The 15th-century façade of the west front has triple entrances framed by three-dimensional arches, a gallery enclosed by a pinnacled balustrade and a delicately-pierced rose window. Over the three doorways rise the two exalted and graceful towers, crowned with spires.
Carved choir stalls
In the uppermost level of the three-storied façade are two ogival (A diagonal rib of a Gothic vault) double-arched windows and statues on pedestals, crowned with a balustrade of letters carved in stone: PULCHRA ES ET DECORA ("Beautiful art Thou, and graceful"), with a statue of the Virgin Mary in the center. There are many balustrades and balconies in the towers, with further open-carved inscriptions: needle-pointed octagonal pinnacles finish the four corners.
The plan of the cathedral is based on a Latin cross of pleasing proportions. The cathedral's cruciform floor plan is difficult to see from the outside, due to the 15 chapels added at all angles to the aisles and transepts, including the beautiful 14th-century cloister on the northwest, and the archiepiscopal palace on the southwest.
The north transept portal, known as the Puerta de la Coronería, has statues of the Twelve Apostles and is crowned with ogival windows and two spires. The south portal features the evangelists at their writing desks.
Many of the altars, chapels and monuments within the cathedral are of artistic and historical interest. The magnificent octagonal Chapel of the Condestable is of flamboyant Gothic style, filled with traceries, knights and angels and heraldry.
The Golden Staircase
When in 1567, Juan de Vallejo and Juan de Castaneda, two great architects completed the prodigious cupola with its starred vaulting; the cathedral of Burgos incorporated one of the greatest concentrations of masterpieces of this last phase of the Gothic: the Puerta della Pellejería (1516) of Francesco de Colonia, the ornamental grill and choir stalls, the grill of the chapel of the Presentation (1519), the retablos of Gil and Diego de Siloé in the Constable's chapel, the retablo of Diego de La Cruz in the chapel of Santa Ana, the staircase of Diego de Siloé in the north transept arm, the tombs of abbots, bishops and other prominent personalities. Thereafter, the cathedral continued to be a monument favored by the arts - the Renaissance retablo of the Capilla Mayor by Rodrigo and Martín de la Haya, Domingo de Berríz and Juan de Anchieta, the tomb of Enrique de Peralta y Cardenas in the chapel of San Enrique, the chapel of Santa Tecla and the trascoro of the 18th century.
In 1919 the cathedral became the burial place of Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar ("El Cid"), and his wife Doña Jimena. On October 31, 1984, Burgos Cathedral was designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.