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Burgos

Updated on May 8, 2011

Burgos is a city in northern Spain, is the capital of Burgos province. The city is about 130 miles (210 km) north of Madrid on the Arlanzon River. The varied local industries include the manufacture of shoes, wagons, furniture, soap, and, most important, fabrics. The area's agricultural products, such as grain, chick peas, and wines, are marketed in Burgos.

Places of Interest

The old part of the city is entered through the Santa Maria gate. Along the street of Lanceria there are still old shops that sell various types of cloth. Modern streets, branching off from the main square, contrast vividly with the older quarter. An ancient castle, in ruins, occupies the hill of San Miguel, which dominates the city. In this same section is the Church of Santa Agueda, famous in Spanish history as Santa Gadea. The city has spread across the Arlanzon, which is crossed by several bridges.

The most famous building is the Gothic cathedral, begun in 1221 by Ferdinand III (the Saint) and Bishop Mauricio. It is the first church of French influence to be built in Spain, and it is the burial place of the Spanish national hero, the Cid. The twin towers were built between 1442 and 1458 by Juan de Colonia. The cathedral is noted for its chapels and its art work. Burgos has numerous libraries rich in archives and medieval documents.

Burgos Province

The province, one of six that make up Old Castile, has an area of 5,509 square miles (14,269 sq km). It is bounded on the north by Santander and Vizcaya, on the east by Alava, Logrono, and Soria; on the south by Soria and Segovia; and on the west by Valladolid and Palencia. The main centers besides the capital are Aranda de Duero, Roa, Lerma, Briviesca, Salas de los Infantes, and Miranda de Ebro.

The province is crossed by the rivers Ebro in the north and Douro (Duero) in the south, while the Arlanzon passes through the center to join the Douro west of the province. In the north is a heavily forested region. The province has an average elevation of 3,800 feet (1,158 meters) and a climate that is cold in winter and hot and dry in summer. Burgos receives much snow, compensating for the lack of summer rain.

The province's economy is based largely on agriculture (cereal grains) and grazing. Local industries, long dependent on the rather extensive production of wool, had begun to decline by the mid-20th century.

History of Burgos

Burgos was founded between 882 and 884 by Count Diego Rodriguez Porcelos as an outpost protecting the kingdom of Asturias against Moorish attack. In 1029 the county of Burgos came under the control of Sancho III of Navarre. Alfonso VI, the monarch of the Cid, finally united Leon and Castile and made Burgos his capital in 1072. In later years Castilian kings began to prefer to hold court in Valladolid, and Burgos lost some of its prestige. Although Charles V and Philip II occasionally held court at Burgos, Madrid eventually became the capital of Spain. The city suffered heavily under the Duke of Wellington's siege in the Peninsular War and also in the Carlist Wars. During the Civil War of 1936-1939 it served as Francisco's Franco's capital until the fall of Madrid.

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