Definitions

sweeping aside

Burgos

[boor-gaws]
City of Burgos
Flag

(In details)
Coat of arms

(In details)
|---- bgcolor="#FFFFFF" Province Burgos
Autonomous community Castilla y León
Postal code 090xx
Coordinates
 - Latitude:
 - Longitude:

42°21' N
3º42' W
Altitude 856 m
Surface 108 km²
Distances 122 km to Valladolid
244,7 km to Madrid
Population
 - Total (census of 2005)
 - Density

172.421 inhab.
1546 hab./km²
Demonym Burgalés/Burgalesa
Rivers Arlanzón
Vena
Pico
Cardeñadijo
Mayor (2003- ) Juan Carlos Aparicio
(Partido Popular)

Burgos is a city of northern Spain, at the edge of the central plateau, with about 173,600 inhabitants in the city proper and another 10,000 in its suburbs. It is the capital of the province of Burgos. The Burgos Laws or Leyes de Burgos were promulgated there in 1512.

History

Early man of Neanderthal occupied sites around Burgos as early as 800,000 years ago.

When the Romans took possession of what is now the province of Burgos the site had been a Celtiberian city. In Roman times it belonged to Hispania Citerior ("Hither Spain") and then to Hispania Tarraconensis. In the fifth century the Visigoths drove back the Suevi, then the Arabs occupied all of Castile in the eighth century, though only for a brief period, and left no trace of their occupation. Alfonso III the Great, king of León reconquered it about the middle of the ninth century, and built many castles for the defence of Christendom, which was then extended through the reconquest of lost territory. The region came to be known as Castile (Latin castella), i.e. "land of castles".

Burgos was founded in the 880s as an outpost of this expanding Christian frontier, when Diego Rodríguez "Porcelos", count of Castile, governed this territory with orders to promote the increase of the Christian population; with this end in view he gathered the inhabitants of the surrounding country into one fortified village, whose Visigothic name of Burgos signified consolidated walled villages (Gothic baurgs). The city began to be called Caput Castellae ("Cabeza de Castilla" or "Head of Castille"). The county (condado) of Burgos, subject to the Kings of Leon, continued to be governed by counts and was gradually extended; Fernán González, the greatest of these, established his independence.

The city was the see of a Catholic bishop from the tenth century and in the eleventh century became the capital of the Kingdom of Castile. Burgos was a major stop for pilgrims on their way to Santiago de Compostela and a centre of trade between the Bay of Biscay and the south, which attracted an unusually large foreign merchant population, who became part of the city oligarchy and excluded other foreigners. Throughout the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries Burgos was a favourite seat of the kings of León and Castile and a favoured burial site. The consejo or urban commune of Burgos was firmly in the hands of an oligarchic class of caballeros villanos, the "non-noble knights" of Burgos, who provided the monarchs with a mounted contingent: in 1255 and 1266 royal charters granted to those citizens of Burgos who owned horses and could arm themselves relief from taxes, provided that they continue to live within the city walls The merchant oligarchy succeeded the cathedral chapter as the major purchasers of land after 1250; they carried on their mercantile business in common with municipal or royal functions and sent their sons to England and Flanders to gain experience in overseas trade. A few families within the hermandades or confraternities like the Sarracín and Bonifaz succeeded in monopolising the post of alcalde, or mayor; a special court, the alcalde del rey was first mentioned at Burgos in 1281 By the reign of Alfonso X the exemption of the non-noble knights and religious corporations, combined with exorbitant gifts and grants to monasteries and private individuals, placed great stress on the economic well-being of the realm.

In the century following the conquest of Seville (1248), Burgos became a testing-ground for royal policies of increasing power against the consejo, in part by encouraging the right to appeal from the consejo to the king. In 1285 Sancho IV added a new body to the consejo which came to dominate it: the jurado in charge of collecting taxes and overseeing public works; the king reserved the right to select its members. The city perceived that danger to its autonomy came rasther from an uncontrolled aristocracy during royal minorities: Burgos joined the hermandades of cities that leagued together for mutual protection in 1295 and 1315. In the fourteenth century official royal intrusion in city affairs was perceived as a palliative against outbreaks of violence by the large excluded class of smaller merchants and artisans, on whom the tax burden fell. The alguacil was the royal official instituted to judge disagreements.

On 9 June 1345, sweeping aside the city government, Alfonso XI established direct royal rule of Burgos through the Regimiento of sixteen appointed men

In 1574 Pope Gregory XIII made its bishop an archbishop, at the request of king Philip II. Burgos has been the scene of many wars: with the Moors, the struggles between León and Navarre, and between Castile and Aragon. In the Peninsular War against Napoleonic France, Burgos was the scene of a battle, and again in the 19th century Carlist civil wars of the Spanish succession. During the Spanish Civil War Burgos was the base of Gen. Franco's rebel Nationalist government.

Sights

Burgos still possesses more ecclesiastical monuments than any other Spanish city, even Toledo. The three most outstanding are the cathedral, with its chapel of the Condestables de Castilla, the monastery of Las Huelgas and the Carthusian monastery of Miraflores. In addition to the collegiate churches of Lerma, Villadiego, Pampliega, Palenzuela, Covarrubias and others, there are in Burgos alone many magnificent buildings. The cathedral treasury, the monastery of Las Huelgas and the Carthusian monastery of Miraflores, are museums of permanent value.

Minor notable churches are: San Esteban, San Gil (Sancti Aegidii), San Pedro, San Cosme y San Damian, Santiago (Sancti Jacobi), San Lorenzo and San Lesmes (Adelelmi). The Convento de la Merced, occupied by the Jesuits, and the Hospital del Rey are also worthy of mention. In the walls of the city are the famous gateway of Santa María, erected for the first entrance of the Emperor Charles V, and the arch of Fernán González. The diocese has two fine ecclesiastical seminaries. There are also many institutions for secular education. Schools are maintained in every diocese, the Instituto Provincial, and many colleges are conducted by private individuals, religious orders and nuns both cloistered and uncloistered.

Gothic Cathedral

The Gothic Cathedral at Burgos, begun in 1221, displays features of the 13th to 15th centuries. The west front is flanked by towers terminating in octagonal spires covered with open stonework traceries. The The middle section, which serves for an entrance, has three alabaster pilasters, the intercolumnar spaces bearing panel-pictures representing the martyrdom of saints. The façade as a whole gives the impression of a gorgeous picture, and the ornate and fantastic devices sculptured all over its magnificent surface are simply innumerable.

The octagonal chapel of the Condestable, of florid Gothic and very pure in design, is the best of the many chapels of the cathedral. Its roof if finished with balustraded turrets, needle-pointed pinnacles, statues, and countless other sculptural devices. In the lower portion coats of arms, shields, and crouching lions have been worked into the ensemble. The exterior of the sacristy is decorated with carved traceries, figures of angels and armoured knights. The tabernacle is of extraordinary magnificence and is composed of two octagonal sections in Corinthian style.

Monasterio de las Huelgas

Next to the cathedral in magnificence is the famous Monasterio de las Huelgas on the outskirts of the city. This royal monastery was founded in 1180 by Alfonso VIII, and architecturally belongs to the transition period from Byzantine to Gothic, although in the course of time almost every style has been introduced into it. This convent has two remarkable cloisters, described by 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica as "unrivalled for beauty both of detail and design, and perhaps unsurpassed by anything in its age and style in any part of Europe": one a very fine example of the earlier period and of the use of semi-circular arches and delicate and varied columns; the other of the ogival style of the transition period. The interior of the church is in the style of the latter, enormous columns supporting its magnificent vault; the entrance is modern. This convent is celebrated for the extraordinary privileges granted to its abbess by kings and popes.

Cartuja de Miraflores

A very beautiful and life-like statue of St. Bruno carved in wood is one of the treasures of the monastery; the stalls in the church also display exquisite workmanship. The mausoleum of King John II and of his wife Isabel, in this monastery, is constructed of the finest marble and so delicately carved that portions seem to be sculptured in wax rather than stone. Around the top are beautiful statues of angels in miniature, which might be the work of Phidias. The French soldiers in the War of Independence (1814) mutilated this beautiful work, cutting off some of the heads and carrying them away to France.

The Carthusian monastery of Miraflores, noted for its strict observance, is situated about four kilometres from the historic city center. The mausoleum of King John II and of his wife Isabel, in this monastery, is carved of alabaster.

Sister city

The sister city of Burgos is Bruges (Belgium). Both cities want to work together especially on culture, tourism and economy.

The mayors of the Flemish Bruges and Burgos signed a treaty on 29 January 2007 in the Bruges’ city hall for future cooperation. This engagement could be seen as a prologue on the opening of the exhibition Comeliness and Madness. This exhibition on Philip the Handsome opened recently in the Casa del Cordón in Burgos where the monarch died. On 30 January 2007 the exhibition opened in Bruges, the city where Philip the Handsome was born and where the urn with his hearth is kept in Onthaalkerk O.L.V. (the Church of Our Lady).

See also

Notes

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