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BURGOS OVERVIEW

 

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Burgos Cathedral

Burgos Cathedral, which amongst lots of stuff has a slab of marble under which lie the remains of Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar (c. 1040 – 1099 (59)), aka el Cid Campeador, and Mrs Cid, which were moved there in the 1920s. 

The Cistercian Royal Abbey and Nunnery of Santa Maria la Real de Las Huelgas

 

The still active Cistercian Nunnery of Santa Maria la Real de Las Huelgas was founded in 1187 on the initiative of Queen Leonora (Eleanor Plantagenet) (1160 - 1214 (54)) - daughter of Eleanor of Aquitaine and sister of the nasty English Kings Richard and John (the one who got Magna Cartared) - and her husband, King Alfonso VIII (1156 - 1214 (58)).  The institution specialized in royal nuns, and quickly became so temporally powerful that Innocent III (1161 - 1198 - 1216 (55)), himself the most powerful of the medieval Popes, had to get into a bit of heavy disciplining at an early stage in its life! 

 

An huelgas was a grazing area for cattle not required to work the land ...... aristocratic Spanish Cistercian nuns were obviously a different breed from the Cistercian blokes in France, Italy and Britain, whose jobs were to drain swamps, produce wool and generally work their lands productively.

 

The church area of the nunnery became a royal pantheon littered with caskets - above are those of Eleanor and Alfonso.  Below is a centre capital from the older of the two cloisters.

 

 The Abbey of San Pedro de Gardina

 

The "original" (= a couple of  centuries post death) tombs of el Cid and Mrs Cid , senza bones, are still in their own chapel in the Abbey of San Pedro de Gardina in Burgos, surrounded by their various family crests.  The abbey is now looked after by Cistercian monks, one of whom gave Dom P a personal tour and stood by smiling patiently whilst the requisite 300 photos were taken. 

 

There is now a "Camino del Cid" dropping down south from Burgos to Valencia.

 

Burgos is an excellent base for touring several areas.  Unlike Leon, access (and secure parking) is easy and it only took 10 minutes to get out of town from the Abba Burgos hotel (+34 947 00 11 00) which in turn is a ten minute walk west from the cathedral.  With any hotel you'll (just) need wheels for the Cistercian Nunnery of Santa Maria la Real de Las Huelgas and (definitely) for the Abbey of San Pedro de Gardina.  Don't be put off by the "1960s congress centre" look of the hotel - it works well (including wi-fi), and for dinner the quivering goose liver on a bed of smokey rice pretty much scooped the outright plate of the trip award on sight !

 

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