I slowly wandered through the Burgos cathedral for several hours, knowing it is one of the really impressive cathedrals along the Camino de Santiago in Spain. Most of the magnificent complex is accessable only if one pays to enter, but they give pilgrims a discount and I don’t mind paying to help with the upkeep of such a magnificent World Heritage asset.
The Cathedral is honoring Mary in many of it’s main elements. This 15th century statue was particularly unusual; and I stopped to admire Mary with her exposed breast, nursing the Christ child. How beautiful.
The Burgos Cathedral was founded by St. Ferdinand, who was also the King of the Burgos region as well as two other regions in Spain. He particularly adored the Blessed Mother. He is famous for fighting against the Moor invasion (from Northern Africa across the straights of Gibralter into Spain), and was considered a very just ruler. I was interested in some of the historical facts of King Ferdinand III; Paramhansa Yogananda had said he was this King in a past life. Ferdinand was know to be an excellent administrator and a man of deep faith, founding hospitals, monasteries, churches and cathedrals during his reign, as well as pardoning those who has formerly gone against him.
The inside of the cathedral is hard to take in, there is so much detailed Gothic design. In fact, the construction of the cathedral spans several hundred years so that it encompasses every Gothic style! And due to later renovations over the centuries, it also contains magnificent works of art in Rococo and Baroque styles.
Within the cathedral one enters some old stone hallways around a central courtyard, video here. Impressive ceiling and statues are found every step of the way. It’s really too much to take in at once, or to adequately describe.
My audio tour also mentioned that the cathedral has an artistic style called Horror Vacui, Fear of Emptiness. There is nowhere inside that is not adorned. Perhaps it is a fear through the middle ages: to not be surrounded by iconography to save one’s soul.
Walking around outside later in the evening the church bells ring, deafeningly, calling all in the city to attend the upcoming prayers and mass. Short video of the bells ringing.
Still, I very much enjoy the evening mass, short video clip here. The hundreds of years of devotion and tradition, the giant organ playing, the staggering golden altar that depicts the story of Mary’s blessed life; these all keep me engaged during the grand celebration of mass by about 8 priests.
(One of the grand altarpieces in a side chapel, and there are so many of these!)
Burgos city, and especially the cathedral, is an exhilerating change from the tiny villages I have been traveling through. Yet I miss the countryside and am happy to venture out again today. Buen Camino (a wish for a good and blessed Camino walk) to all you pilgrims who follow along with me!
I love hearing from you, comments below.
Walk with me on my Camino!