The city of Burgos was founded in 884. It has played a major role in the military and political history of Spain. It was the capital of the united kingdoms of Castile and Leon from 1073, until losing that title to Valladolid after the fall of Granada in 1492.
During the 15th and 16th centuries, Burgos grew from trade, most notably wool. The wealth generated from the wool trade has financed much of the rich treasures and architecture that can be seen in Burgos today.
Founded in 1221 by Bishop Don Mauricio, Burgos Cathedral is Spain’s third largest church. It was begun under the reign of Fernando III. The Latin cross architectural plan measures 82 meters long. Over three centuries, the construction of the cathedral was carried out in stages. Many of Europe’s greatest artists and architects were employed for the task.
The style of Burgos Cathedral is mostly Gothic, showing influence from the great Gothic churches of Germany and France. The nave and cloister were built first, while the intricate crocheted spires and richly decorated side chapels were constructed later. Built on a sloping hill, the architects had to incorporate stairways inside and out to accommodate the terrain.
The magnificent star-ribbed central dome was begun in 1539. It rises on four grand pillars. It is decorated with the images of prophets and saints. The tomb of the legendary figure of Spain, El Cid, is located directly below the dome.