Start your tour of the city with the cathedral, which contains such a wealth of art and other treasures that the local burghers lynched their civil governor in 1869 for trying to take an inventory of it: the proud citizens feared that the man was plotting to steal their riches. Just as opulent as what's inside is the sculpted Flamboyant Gothic facade of the cathedral. The cornerstone was laid in 1221, and the two 275-foot towers were completed by the middle of the 14th century, though the final chapel was not finished until 1731. There are 13 chapels, the most elaborate of which is the hexagonal Condestable Chapel. You'll find the tomb of El Cid (1026–99) and his wife, Ximena, under the transept. El Cid (whose real name was Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar) was a feudal warlord revered for his victories over the Moors; the medieval Song of My Cid transformed him into a Spanish national hero.
At the other end of the cathedral, high above the West Door, is the Reloj de Papamoscas (Flycatcher Clock), so named for the sculptured bird that opens its mouth as the hands mark each hour. The grilles around the choir have some of the finest wrought-iron work in central Spain, and the choir itself has 103 delicately carved walnut stalls, no two alike. The 13th-century stained-glass windows that once shed a beautiful, filtered light were destroyed in 1813, one of many cultural casualties of Napoléon's retreating troops.
- Address: Between Pl. del Rey San Fernando and Pl. de Santa María, Burgos, 09003 | Map It
- Phone: 947/204712
- Cost: €7 (includes audio guide)
- Hours: Mid-Mar.–Oct., daily 9:30–7:30; Nov.–mid-Mar., daily 10–7. Last admission 1 hour before closing
- Website: www.catedraldeburgos.es
- Location: Burgos
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