My Visit To The Burgos Cathedral, La Catedral de Burgos

March 2, 2012 — 6 Comments

It was ironic that the rain stopped as I walked through Burgos, and when I reached the small plaza on the east side, I saw my first patch of blue sky for the day. I was excited to arrive at the plaza. Not only was the cathedral a significant landmark, but by this time on the Camino de Santiago, after walking 300 kilometers (180 miles), I was starting to feel pretty good. If it wasn’t for that damn weather, things would have been great. Okay, enough about me and the weather. Let’s look at the feature of this post:

La Catedral de Burgos

Construction started on the Burgos Cathedral in 1221 and lasted for centuries, including a period of about 200 years where little progress was made. Since it was built over many centuries, numerous architects and artists contributed and ensured a diverse and rich ensemble of retablos, tapestries, paintings, carvings, and tombs. It was built during the time when Gothic architecture was prevalent, and was influenced by some of the French cathedrals. From the latter years of construction, other styles of architecture, such as Renaissance and Baroque, can be seen.

The Burgos Cathedral was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site on October 31, 1984. It should be noted that it’s the only cathedral in Spain where the structure alone is the heritage site. For example, Santiago de Compostela’s UNESCO World Heritage Site designation includes all of the old town.

Similar to my book, I don’t intend for this post to be an in depth history lesson. For more information please look at the following pages: Burgos Cathedral, UNESCO.orgBurgos Cathedral, Official siteBurgos Cathedral, Sacred Destinations. Of course, the best authority is Gitlitz & Davidson’s, The Pilgrimage Road To Santiago. Their coverage of the cathedral begins on page 177.

I left my last post, On The Camino de Santiago in Burgos, Spain, standing at the small plaza overlooking the east side of the cathedral. On this post, I’m going to take you around the cathedral, from east to west along the north side, before going inside. This is from the east side. The Condestable chapel is in the foreground.

Photo of Spires, stained-glass, carvings, Cathedral, Burgos, Spain


Another chapel, a few steps further along the Camino.

Photo of Spires, stained-glass, carvings, Cathedral, Burgos, Spain


The tympanum and statues at the north entrance, or Puerta de la Coroneria, were elegantly detailed. The façade is from the 13th century.

Photo of Tympanum, Stone, carvings, religious, Cathedral, Burgos, Spain

 Photo of Stone carvings, intricate, exterior, Cathedral, Burgos, Spain


As I wrote on page 95, “I marveled at the exterior and noticed the main building on the west side was even grander.” The famous spires on the west, main building.

Photo of Spires, clouds, Gothic, Cathedral, Burgos, Spain


The west façade. The towers were finished in the mid-15th century.

Photo of Exterior Cathedral, clouds, blue sky, Burgos, Spain


These photos weren’t taken too well, but I hope they can show closer details of the west façade.

Photo of Spires, stone, Gothic, Cathedral, Burgos, Spain


A statue of The Virgin is at the top-center while eight kings are situated below.

Photo of Windows, Cathedral, carvings, stone, blue sky ,Burgos, Spain


According to Gitlitz & Davidson on page 180 in The Pilgrimage Road To Santiago, the rose window’s six-pointed star is common in Gothic architecture.

Photo of Window, stone, carvings, Cathedral, Burgos, Spain


The main entrance from the west plaza.

Photo of Plaza, Cathedral entrance, fountain, stone, Burgos, Spain


The elegant main entrance, the doors date to 1663.

Photo of Entrance Tympanum, carvings, doors, Cathedral, Burgos, Spain


Let’s go inside, but wait, we have to pay admission. For pilgrims, admission is a reasonably priced €2.50. For adults who are not pilgrims, the admission is €5. Much to my delight, lockers for backpacks were available and cost around €1. For more information, please check out the cathedral’s official website.

Photo of Sign, entrance, Cathedral, Catedral, Burgos, Spain


I must confess. When I visited the Burgos Cathedral as a pilgrim, I didn’t know I would be writing a book one day, let alone writing a blog. My notes are lacking, and I had trouble taking interior photos with my little Nikon. It’s best that I just display the photos I have with a brief description.

This was near the entrance (sorry, not really a description).

Photo of stone, sculpture, Cathedral, Burgos, Spain


Tombs of alabaster and marble were throughout the cathedral. The most elegant ones were prominently displayed inside chapels. The cathedral has an incredible 15 chapels.

Photo of Tomb, Cathedral, Burgos, Spain

Photo of Tomb, Cathedral, Burgos, Spain


The beautiful double staircase with so many intricate details — an ensemble of art.

Photo of Double staircase, stone, carvings, painted, Cathedral, Burgos, Spain


Photo of Stairs, railings, stone, silver, cart, paintings, Cathedral, Burgos, Spain


The cart at the bottom of the stairs, much of the upper portion in stunning sterling.

Photo of Stone carvings, silver cart, wheels, Cathedral, Burgos, Spain


With all the chapels, there were also many retablos, each one also a piece of art. Masters of retablo architecture worked at the Burgos Cathedral. Here’s just a few.

Photo of Carvings, painted, Religious scene, wood, Burgos, Spain Cathedral


Photo of Carvings, painted, Religious scene, wood, Burgos, Spain Cathedral


The main retablo in the Capilla Mayor.

Photo of Carvings, painted, Religious scene, wood, Burgos, Spain Cathedral


The Capilla Mayor.

Photo of Carvings, painted, White stone, wood, Burgos, Spain Cathedral


Photo of Stained glass, Hall, capilla, carvings, stone, Burgos, Spain


This intricately detailed cloister was built during the 13th and 14th centuries, and held pieces of art including paintings and sculptures.

Photo of Windows, cloister, stone, Burgos, Spain


Tombs encased in stone were throughout the outside cloister.

Photo of Cloister, tombs, stone, walls, Cathedral, Burgos Spain


I believe this tympanum was over one of the entrances to the outside cloister.

Photo of tympanum, Stone, intricate, Cathedral, Burgos,


I can’t remember which room this was in. There were dozens of similar sculptures and scenes.

Photo of Carving, Painted, Cathedral, Burgos, Spain


Very importantly, one of the many beautiful stained glass windows. This was one of my favourites.

Photo of Stained-glass window, colorful, Cathedral, Burgos, Spain


The look from the west as I left the cathedral along the Camino.

Photo of Spires, clouds, blue sky, Cathedral, Burgos, Spain

I hope you enjoyed my visit to the Burgos Cathedral. As I wrote on page 95, “The cathedral was far more beautiful than I could have ever imagined…. I spent one and a half hours inside the cathedral, but I could have spent an entire day. It was incredible.” If you’re there, I recommend walking around the entire complex. There are a lot of stairs, but it’s well-worth your time. Again I wished my photos were better. Anyway, if you’re in Spain and have a chance, either as a pilgrim or a tourist, you should definitely visit. Better yet, if you could spend at least a full day there.

On my next post, On The Camino de Santiago In Spain, Burgos to Hornillos del Camino, after my lunch at a tapas bar, I continued walking out of Burgos and had my best weather in days. I really enjoyed my evening walk as I made my way into something notorious on the Camino — the Spanish meseta. I’ll talk about that next time.

If you have my book, Camino de Santiago In 20 Days, or have ordered it, I really appreciate your support. It’s also out on Kindle. My Goodreads page has reviews and more information. Please share this post, and thanks for your time.

About Randall St. Germain

Randall St. Germain, author of Camino de Santiago In 20 Days, is a middle-aged Canadian Boy who is passionate about nature, photography, hiking, music, and self-improvement. After the death of his mother, he chose to walk the famous pilgrimage, the Camino de Santiago, across the north of Spain, despite knowing little about it. He certainly didn’t plan to write a book until the latter days of his Camino. Similar to walking the Camino, writing and publishing a book was a learning experience. It was also very rewarding, and part of his ongoing journey. Please join him as he takes you along on his journey in Camino de Santiago In 20 Days, and on his blog Camino My Way.


6 responses to My Visit To The Burgos Cathedral, La Catedral de Burgos

  1. I couldn’t agree more – the Burgos Cathedral was an amazing attraction – it’s grandeur was incredible! I was lucky to have great weather on the Camino and perfect sunny afternoons for sitting in the plaza, drinking Sangria with my fellow pilgrims, watching the world go by! Being in the plaza on a Saturday afternoon, we also were able to watch a tremendous fashion show as wedding parties stopped to have their photos in front of the Cathedral! Quite the sight to see!

    • It sounds like you had a great time on the Camino, Anita. It was rather cold and rainy when I arrived but I did the best I could. As you can tell, the plaza was nearly vacant. Burgos is one of the cities along the French Way that I would like to spend more time in, maybe as a tourist next time.

  2. Loved Camino in 20 days.thank you.

  3. Robert Policarpio April 3, 2015 at 11:22 pm

    Just finished reading your book and I enjoyed it immensely. I will read it again if my plans of doing the Camino walks push through next year. Thank you for sharing your experience to us.

  4. Robert, thanks so much for reading my book. Thanks for the kind words too. I don’t hear them often but they mean the world to me. I would appreciate a review if you haven’t already. I’m still slowly blogging my journey on the Camino del Norte and rewriting the early posts on the Camino Frances so please keep checking back here. Take care and Buen Camino 🙂

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