Burgos is the capital of Burgos province in northern Spain. Burgos grew from a series of small settlements, Burgos, that were defended by a 9th century castle to become the capital of the united kingdoms of Castile and Leon in 1073 under Alfonso VI, the Brave. It remained the capital until 1492 when Fernando II and Isabel moved their court to Valladolid. Burgos has a perfectly conserved old center of town, and reminds of important personalities of Spanish medieval history come alive, as to the national hero "El Cid", who was born here.
Burgos has quite a few major attractions. The monastery Monasterio de las Huelgas, with its gothic chapterhouse of unique value and its Romanesque cloister, is considered one of the most important monuments in Spain. It was founded 1187 by Alfonso VIII, whose tomb alongside the ones of other members of Spanish royal family can be visited inside. Iglesia de San Esteban is the 13th century gothic church. Close to it there is the "Arco de San Esteban", a 12th century Arabian arc.
La Casa del Cordon is an outstanding example of civil-architecture in Burgos. Especially remarkable is the portal. Cartuja de Miraflores, the 15th century church is especially important for the tombs of Juan II and Doja Maria in its interior. Puerta de Santa Maria is a 16th century door of the town, with a 14th century Arabian-style tower, "Torre de Santa Maria" at its side. Worth visiting are also the old city-walls, which are well-conserved at Puerta de San Esteban and Paseo de los Cubos. One of the most famous Burgos attractions is the Burgos Cathedral. The 13th century gothic building is among the most admired of its kind worldwide. Especially remarkable are its portal, the "Puerta del Sarmental", considered the best example of gothic sculpture of its century and the Cloister. The 15th century chapel, "Capilla del Condestable", is another work of unique architectonic value. Burgos Cathedral, founded in 1221 by Ferdinand III of Castile and the English bishop Maurice of Burgos, is a fine example of florid Gothic (completed 1567) and has 15 chapels.
The bones of the 11th-century hero Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar, known as El Cid, and of his wife, Jimena, have rested there since 1919, and there are numerous relics of El Cid and other treasures. Burgos Cathedral is a World Heritage Site, and is open daily. Burgos Cathedral has now a fully restored clean stone exterior, so for the first time in a hundred years you can see what the designers' intentions really meant for the viewing public. Burgos Cathedral at night is one of the most beautiful sights. Illuminated, it looks almost magical. It is a really beautiful Cathedral, with outstanding artwork and the visit there is worth the admission.
The many businesses, located under the arcades of the old town, the bars and restaurants around the Cathedral, and many parks and gardens along the banks of the Arlazon provide wonderful scenery for a walking tour of the city. When in Burgos, you shouldn't miss to visit as well the surroundings of the town, where you will find many villages of extraordinary historical-artistic value.