Saturday, July 5, 2008

Burgos part 1 - the Cathedral

I've finally had enough time to put up some photos from our trip to Burgos. This will only be one installment of our trip to the city located in northern Spain.

We arrived in the early morning and walked the short distance from the bus station to the city gates. This is the main gate to the city, called the Arch of Saint Mary. It is decorated with statues of the early kings and queens of Castile.

Perhaps Burgos' most famous resident was El Cid. This Spanish nobleman helped in the reconquest of Spain from Moorish hands. He was born in Burgos and there are many sites connected with his life. In the main square of the city stands this statue.

A stone statue of his wife, Lady Ximena.

The first site we saw was the magnificent Gothic cathedral of Burgos. It was begun in 1221 and construction lasted roughly a hundred years. Later on, in the 17th and 18th centuries, it was remodeled extensively. The end result is pretty stunning.

A shot of me, with the German-inspired spires in the background. These spires are about 250 feet tall.

On one side of the cathedral is a shrine where pilgrims and faithful places flowers to a statue of the Blessed Mother. You can see the statue in between the two niches, and the mountain of flowers in front.

After exploring the outside, we entered the cathedral. Here's a statue of the Annunciation, near the entryway.

The main altar in a side chapel dedicated to St. Dominic.

Within this chapel dedicated to St. Dominic there was this side altar with a sculpture of the buried Christ, and a relief of the marriage of St. Joseph and Our Lady. Think about that...this is a side altar of a side chapel. The lowest of the low!

Another side altar, this time dedicated to St. James. These painted wooden statues depict him in front of Our Lady of Pilar. Notice the sculpted shell motif in the niche above.

The side chapel dedicated to St. Anne. This magnificent reredo shows the family tree of Christ. At the bottom you can see the horizontal dead body of Jesse, and the tree of Jesse growing from his body. At intervals along the branches are St. David (bottom left, with harp), then continuing upwards St. Joachim, St. Anne, St. Joseph, and the Blessed Mother, seated with the child Jesus in her lap.

The gilded staircase that leads to a side exit of the cathedral.

A horse drawn bier, made of solid silver used during Eucharistic processions to carry the SSMM.

Ahaha! The tombs of El Cid and Dona Ximena! In the nave, we came across the tombs, the stone of which had recently been replaced.

Standing in the main nave, looking up at the dome. The entire cathedral had recently been cleaned, and you can see the white stone shining.

This is the main altar. It is near the end of the nave, which is more than 300 feet long.

A shot of the dome right above the main altar.

This is a statue of St. Anne, holding a young baby Mary, who in turn is holding her son, Baby Jesus.

The chapel of the Constables, the early officials of Burgos. Many of them are buried in this side chapel.

A close-up shot of the wooden carving above the main altar showing the presentation of the Child Jesus.

We exited the cathedral and began the tour of its exterior areas. This is the sacristy. Pretty amazing wood furnishings. Above each vesting table was an image of the blessed Mother, designed to remind the priest that he shares her role during Mass, at the Consecration. These were only three of the twelve vesting stations.

The courtyard inside the cloister of the Cathedral.

If you look in the photo above, you'll see all the stained glass windows filling the arches of the cloister. Here's a close-up of one of the windows.

A picture walking around the cloister, among the tombs of Burgos' bishops.

In a side chapel of the cloister is the old (first) coffin of El Cid.

And in the same chapel is his original marriage certificate, which is quite well preserved.

Peeking into another room of the cloister, we came across this gilded wooden statue of the Christ Child, seated on his mother's lap.

Apart from the sacristy, was the area where the vestments were stored. Take a look at those cabinets! They were all made of solid walnut.

Last stop was the museum/treasury containing treasures that had been in use by the Cathedral in days gone by. This is the main altar of the museum. Prominently displayed is a statue of St. James the Moorslayer, gigging a Moor. PW3NED!

A chalice made of gold, with pearls and emeralds, from the 15th century.

A solid silver incense boat, shaped like a ....boat. Made in Naples.

We exited the treasury through the cathedral, where we got one more glimpse of the main dome, with a statue of St. James perched on top of the grille.

Our last glimpse of the cathedral as we moved on to the rest of the sites in the town.


Jim De Piante said...


Anonymous said...

Thank you very much for the photos! I've never been to Spain, and I appreciate being able to see so many interesting sights!