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Catedral de Burgos / The Burgos Cathedral


Burgos city has 180,000 inhabitants and is situated in the north of Spain. The Saint Mary Cathedral in Burgos, (Catedral de Santa María de Burgos), popularly known as The Burgos Cathedral is the most remarkable building in Burgos and one of most beautiful Gothic Cathedral in Spain, which has been a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1984.


History of the cathedral

fachada catedralThe colossal Burgos Cathedral was begun its construction in 1221 by the King Fernando III of Castilla, known as The Saint (1199-1252), and the Bishop of Burgos Don Mauricio and was finished its construction in 18th century. The current Cathedral was built on the site of a Romanesque church which had been demolished in order to build a temple bigger. In fact, the Cathedral has 3 naves, 19 interesting chapels, one of the best Gothic cloister in Spain which is dated in the 14th century and decorated with sculptures of the 13th and 14th centuries among other things.

As this cathedral has more than enough artworks to see in a visit, one option is to stroll along the streets bordering the Cathedral admiring its architecture. If visitors start their walk in Saint Mary square they can see the impressive main facade in Gothic style with its two outstanding towers which have 84 metres in height and were finished by Juan de Colonía (1410-1481), in the best Flamboyant Gothic style, the great stained glass rose window and its three gates. On the left, people can go upstairs to get Fernán González street in where they will find the fine Gothic Coronería or the Apostles gate. Continuing straight and turning on the right they can stare the Pellejería gate which was built in 1516 by Francisco de Colonía. Finally, taking Paloma street, walkers will arrive at the King Saint Fernando square where is the Gothic Sarmental gate built in the 13th century with the finest sculptures, it is really the more beautiful gate of the Cathedral and the original stained glass window on its facade; and turning on the right, strollers will see the Saint Mary square again. Do not leave without staring the Gothic Sarmental gate.


Visiting the cathedral of Burgos

retablo catedral burgosInside the Cathedral of Burgos, visitors can not miss out the unbelievable dome dates in the 16 century; in the central nave is the main altarpiece (16th century) which is considered to be one of the best altarpiece in Spain; the beautiful choir; the golden staircase from 16th century; the famous Papamoscas from 16th century (a strange figure doll on a clock that opens its mouth once a hour); the tomb of Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar, known as El Cid Campeador (1044-1099) and his wife Jimena; the Flamboyant Gothic Condestable chapel which is a masterpiece by Simon de Colonia (1450-1511) from the 15th century and its stained glass window; the Saint Tecla chapel (18th century), and many more artworks.

People interested in attending Mass should go to the Saint Tecla chapel from 8,30 to 13,30 and 16 to 20, it will be closed for tourists.

The Cathedral is open for tourists from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. ( from 10 to 19). A ticket costs from 1,50 to 7 euros. Visitors must remember that Burgos Cathedral is an important point in the Way of Saint James’ pilgrims.

inside catedral burgosMoreover, before entering or after going out the Cathedral, tourists can enjoy the visit more if they take a look around the King Saint Fernando square to see the pilgrim statue and the noteworthy the Saint Mary arch which is opposite to the Cathedral and was one of the walls’ gates to enter the city in the medieval times. By the way, there are several cafes, restaurants, shops in this square.


Other interesting buildings to visit in Burgos, near the cathedral

The Saint Mary square is a starting point to get other interesting buildings in Burgos easily, for example, the Burgos Castle takes about 10 minutes on foot, it is the perfect place to take photographs and people can see the breathtaking view of the Cathedral and surroundings; the outstanding Saint Mary of the Huelgas Monastery (Monasterio de Santa María de las Huelgas) dated in the 12th century takes about 30 minutes on foot, tourists should not leave Burgos without visiting it.

Finally, Saint Nicholas church (Iglesia de San Nicolas) from the 15th century with an alabaster altarpiece worth a visit to 5 minutes from the square.



More places to visit in Spain

Castile and Leon: Read here the best places to visit in Castile and Leon, where is places Burgos.

The most popular monuments of Spain: Here you have a list with some of the most popular buildings to visit in Spain.

Top cities and destinations in Spain: What to see in Spain?  If you are thinking of visiting Spain but you don’t know exactly what are the best cities to see, this post is for you.

Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba / Mezquita-Catedral de Córdoba

mezquita cordoba 2

The Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba (La Mezquita de Córdoba) situated near the Guadalquivir river is one of the most remarkable and tourist places in Spain and in the world, and the most emblematic building in Córdoba city.  The Mosque of Cordoba is the symbol of the Andalusí art, one monument that remind us of the art and great power of the Caliphate of Cordoba during the 9th and 10th centuries.

The Mosque of Cordoba was declared a World Heritage site in 1984 by UNESCO.


History of the Great Mosque of Cordoba

The construction of the amazing Mosque in Andalusí style began in 786 on a Visigoth church (dating in the 6th century) destroyed by order of Abderraman I (Abd ar-Rahman) (born in 731 in Damascus and died in Córdoba in 788) who wanted a great Mosque in Córdoba. In fact, he had bought the Visigoth Saint Vicente the Martyr basilica in order to built the first Mosque aljama in Córdoba in the same place.

The Great Mosque aljama was built in different stages: Abderraman I who founded the dynasty Omeya (Umayyad) began the construction in 786; his son Hixem I (757-796) built the first minaret; Abderraman II (792-852) added eight rows; Abderraman III (891-961) constructed a new minaret in the 10th century; his son Alhaken II (915-976) added twelve naves and decorated the mihrab in the 10th century; the last construction was by Almanzor (Al-Mansur) (938-1002) who added eight naves at the end of 10th century.

mezquita cordobaThe great Mosque of Córdoba became the second largest Mosque in the world after the Mecca Mosque in Saudi Arabia until 16th century when was built the Blue Mosque in Istanbul (Turkey).

In 1236 Fernando III king of Castilla and León known as the Saint (1199-1252) conquered Cordoba, and the Great Mosque was converted into The Cathedral of Cordoba.

Unfortunately in 1523 inside the Great Mosque was begun to build the main chapel in Renaissance style, the transept and the choir of the cathedral until 17th century, and as a result part of the Great Mosque constructed by Abderraman II and Armanzor was demolished to built the current cathedral. Moreover, the minaret built by Abderraman III was cover by the new baroque bell tower which was constructed in the 16th century although it is said that the minaret is still underneath the Christian bell tower.

Therefore Charles I of Spain and V of Germany the Emperor (1500-1558) regretted having allowed the bishop of Cordoba to build inside the Great Mosque.


Visiting the Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba

Nowadays, the Mosque- Cathedral of Cordoba has more than 800 granite, jasper and marble columns with double horseshoe arches, an beautiful orange tree courtyard, the incomparable miharb which is a masterpiece, the Chapel of Villaviciosa, other outstanding chapels, the beautiful choir, the bell tower and too beautiful artworks to see in only a visit.

In conclusion, the Mosque-Cathedral covers a quadrangular area of more than 23,000 m2 full the interesting artworks. Do not leave without visiting the Mosque of Cordoba.

In addition, People interested in night tour can visit the Mosque-Cathedal during the night because there are several guided visits in the evening and during the night. Although the visit takes place in groups about 80 people, it had better book the ticket in advance to avoid the wait and spend the free time strolling in its surroundings. It will be an unforgettable experience to know better this unique Mosque-Cathedral in Andalusí art.

The visit costs between 9 and 18 euros and it takes about one and a half hour the guided visit. By the way, visitors can enjoy the Mosque more if they border the building to admire its more the 15 doors in its facades.



More places to visit in Cordoba

Medina Azahara: Medina Azahara was a luxury wall city situated on a hill to 8 km away from Cordoba. It was begun its construction in 936 by Abderraman III and finished by his son Alhaken II with the finest decoration in Andalusi style.

Read also our recommendations about Granada and Seville and our list with the best cities and destinations of Spain.

Medina Azahara medieval palace (Cordoba)

medina azahara

Medina Azahara (Madinat al-Zahra) was a luxury wall city situated on a hill to 8 km away from Cordoba by Sierra Morena Mountain. It was begun its construction in 936 by Abderraman III and finished by his son Alhaken II with the finest decoration in Andalusí style.

Unfortunately the upmarket place, the royal castle, the mosque, gardens, fountains among other things were plundered during the wars in Al-Andalus in the 11th century.

However, important remains of the city can still be seen in the archaeological site. It is worth a visit. There are several buses to go to Medina Azahara, it costs about 9 euros. Another way is to take the buses with tourist guide it costs 20 euros. It is 8 km away from Córdoba.

It can take about 2 hours to arrive at the Medina Azahara on foot from the Mosque, and 14 minutes by bus.


More places to visit in Cordoba (Andalusia)

The Mosque-Cathedral of Córdoba: Situated near the Guadalquivir river in Cordoba is one of the most remarkable and tourist places in Spain and in the world, and the most emblematic building in Córdoba city.

Read also our recommendations about Granada and Seville.