Panoramic view of the city of Burgos, with the Santa María Cathedral in the foreground. Photo credits: EFE/Miguel Poza/jgb.

the Burgos Cathedral is a symbol of the city – an eight-hundred-year-old landmark that continues to attract and amaze thousands of visitors every year. Photo: EFE

Burgos gets ready to celebrate Cathedral’s 800th birthday

The Burgos Cathedral still has to wait three years to celebrate its 800th birthday, on the 20 July 2021, but some anniversary events, organised by Fundación VIII Centenario de la Catedral-Burgos 2021, are already taking place. It will be the most important event for decades in town.

The celebration of the 800th anniversary of the Burgos Cathedral is underway. Actually, the Cathedral, one of the most prominent monuments in our country, will be 800 years old in three years’ time, more precisely, on the 20 July 2021. However, Fundación VIII Centenario de la Catedral-Burgos 2021 is now holding the first official anniversary events.

On the 19 July, for instance, 70 bells from 14 bell towers in the Old Town chimed in unison for Flamigera Symphonia, a piece by Valencia-born composer and director Llorenç Barber.

On 20 July, to commemorate the foundation stone-laying ceremony, which took place 797 years ago, there was a re-enactment of the transportation of the limestone used to build the Cathedral from Cubillo del Campo and Hontoria de la Cantera quarries.

On the 23 and 24 July, they put on ‘Danza en la Catedral: Bailando con piedras’, a series of performances that were part of the Burgos & New York International Choreography Contest.

Burgos on the world map

The Fundación VIII Centenario de la Catedral, a foundation chaired by the Archbishop of Burgos, Fidel Herráez, is now working of the programme of activities that will unfold over the next three years, aimed at putting Burgos on the world map.

The Archbishop proposed a Grand Jubilee of Forgiveness, for which the diocese will ask Pope Francis that he proclaims the year 2021 a Jubilee to commemorate the Cathedral’s 800th anniversary.

In addition, the foundation is organising a special exhibition titled ‘The Ages of Man’ , with the participation of some other cathedrals in Europe. Of course, there will be talks and conferences about The Cid, the Spanish language and the influence of Burgos in Europe. There is also the idea of showing all of Burgos’s historical and cultural treasures, like the Archaeological Site of Atapuerca or Las Loras Geopark, and emphasising the city’s role as capital of the Spanish language and major stop on the Way of Saint James.

Oldest Gothic Cathedral in the Iberian Peninsula

Burgos’s imposing Cathedral was built on the site of the Romanesque cathedral where the royal wedding of Ferdinand III of Castile, called the Saint, and Elisabeth of Swabia, renamed Beatrice, took place. The city, which was then the capital of the Kingdom of Castile-León, now needed a new great church in the style of those being built across Europe.

King Ferdinand III commissioned the construction of a new Cathedral in the Gothic style that flourished in Europe in the thirteenth century. The foundation stone was laid on the 20 July 1221. French architects were brought to Burgos by Mauricio, Bishop of Burgos since 1213, to build a great cathedral like Notre-Dame de Paris or Notre-Dame d’Amiens in France.

The Cathedral was built in only 39 years, a short time for such an impressive construction project. In 1260, the Burgos Cathedral was the first-ever Gothic cathedral to be consecrated in the Iberian Peninsula. It soon became a model for other religious buildings in the Gothic style. Later on, the Cathedral was enlarged with new chapels, a sacristy and cloisters.

At present, the Burgos Cathedral is a symbol of the city – an eight-hundred-year-old landmark that continues to attract and amaze thousands of visitors every year with its design, size and beauty.