Burgos is a city of about 170,000 inhabitants located in the north-east end of Castilla y León. Its geographical location means it is close to the regions of Cantabria, the Basque country, and La Rioja, without forgetting its connection with other areas of Castilla y León, such as Soria, Segovia, Palencia and Valladolid. Strolling through Burgos is to enjoy a city which offers multiple faces to the visitor. The capital is full of charming parks. From the Paseo del Espolón, past the Parque la Isla, not forgetting to mention the Paseo del Espoloncillo, the Paseo de la Quinta, where the Cartuja de Miraflores rise, or the Parque de Fuentes Blancas. Burgos also offers a perfect connection between its historic past, visible in buildings like the Cathedral, the Huelgas Reales or the Casa del Cordón; and its cosmopolitan aspect, visible in the Museo de la Evolución Humana (which houses the remains of the Atapuerca site), the Boulevard and the Rosa de Lima Train Station.
Burgos was founded in the year 888 by Count Diego Porcelos under the reign of Alfonso III. The count constructed the Castle, a recreation and leisure space, offering one of the best views of the city. Next to the Castle is the Museo CAB, focused on the dissemination and promotion of contemporary art in the city. This space offers alternatives such as the possibility to attend conferences, courses, or simply enjoy its reading area while sipping coffee. If you walk through the centre, you can greet El Cid, whose statue stands next to the Teatro Principal. Here you can access its temporary exhibition hall and if you are interested, see plays or enjoy concerts. Following the path of Arlanzón, northwards, another must-stop is the view of the Monasterio de las Huelgas Reales. The building was commissioned by Alfonso VIII and his wife Leonor de Plantagenet in 1170. Outside the Panteón Real, the monastery hides a little gem, a medieval clothing museum so you can get an idea of how they dressed in Burgos of the twelfth century. Leaving Las Huelgas, we become filled with the university environment. You should know that the University of Burgos occupies a set of known historical buildings with the name of the Hospital del Rey commissioned in 1195 by Alfonso VIII, a king as busy as they come. It is interesting to note that the Hospital del Rey is located in the space through which the Camino de Santiago passes, so it is very possible that you will cross paths with pilgrims. If so, say hi from us and wish them well on their way. In this area we also find the Parral, a green space you must enter in your diary because, coinciding with the first half of June, the pilgrimage of Curpillos is held.
Approaching the old town, the Cathedral is definitely a must see. The building is considered one of the jewels of European Gothic and has been a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1984. In the Cathedral you can follow the traditional route (we recommend seeing the Escalera Dorada) or drop by the cloister. It is very possible that during your stay in our city there will be an exhibition which piques your interest. Who said that contemporary art is at odds with the medieval? If you arrive at the Cathedral via the Paseo de la Audiencia, remember that you must pass through a door, the Arco de Santa María. The building is managed by the City Hall and offers the possibility to visit interesting exhibitions of photography, painting, sculpture, from artists both local and from elsewhere. And if you want to, check out its apothecary.
Walking through the Espolón you will pass near the Consulado del Mar. Today the building houses exhibitions and is the main office of the municipal school of drawing, but in its time, was the body responsible for managing the Castilian wool trade monopoly and its business with Flanders. Note also that the Espolón connects to the Plaza Mayor, where you’ll find many a corner in which to eat or drink a beer or two. Through the Plaza Mayor you will find the current Casa Cordón, before the Palacio de los Condestables de Castilla. Don’t let it overwhelm you by its outward appearance and enter inside. The Casa Cordón is famous for the care with which it looks after its exhibitions. Marcel Duchamp, or drawing collectives, have had their space there, so it is an appointment to consider. Speaking of palaces, another to visit is the current Museo de Burgos, former Casa de Miranda and Casa de Iñigo Angulo. The museum is very close to the coach station and is a must visit to appreciate the pieces of enamel from the Santo Domingo de Silos workshop, renowned in the province of Burgos during the medieval period, and which drinks directly from the Limoges sources.
But in Burgos not all is historic. You have to know that the city underwent a major modernisation in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. This century bore witness to the industrial boom in three fundamental ways: Artificial Silk Factory, Cellophane Factory and the Paper Money Factory. Add to this the importance, in the early stages of the twenty-first century, of reaching other sectors such as fashion with the presence of figures emerging in the province of Burgos.
Currently Burgos is an international leader in the study of human remains, represented in the Museo de la Evolución Humana, where part of the research and archaeological remains of the Atapuerca site are displayed. If we add to this the good food, the variety of shops in the heart of the city, the warmth of the people and the presence of the Hangar as a destination for concerts, monthly markets, etc., there is no doubt we have a charming, fresh and modern city worthy of being enjoyed.