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Caput castellae’, founded around 884 by Count Diego Rodríguez Porcelos, was and still is one of the most important stopping places on the Route. The city, which today boasts a population of 173,239, experienced a period of economic expansion and prosperity during the 15th and 16th centuries thanks to the wool trade with other European countries. This Castilian city has three World Heritage Sites: the Cathedral and surrounding area, the Pilgrims’ Route to Santiago and Atapuerca.

WHAT TO SEE:

- Church of Santa María la Real and former Church of Gamonal. Located in the Gamonal quarter, it dates from the 14th century. Opposite its original front, there is an impressive cross of St James from the 15th century. Former convent of San Bernardo (16th century). Today, it is used as the Municipal School of Music.

- Monastery of San Juan . Demolished church from the 15th century and cloister from the 16th. The second floor is home to a museum with works by the painter Marceliano Santamaría.

 - Hospital of San Juan. Only the front of the 15th-century building remains. It was founded in 1085 and once had a prestigious pharmacy. Today it is used as the municipal library.

- Church of San Lesmes (15th-16th centuries). The church has good altarpieces (15th century), sepulchres (16th century) and paintings. It is also where the remains of the French patron saint of the city are kept.

- Gate of San Juan. Extensively refurbished, it was once part of the gate in the city walls through which pilgrims gained access to the city centre.

- Church of San Gil (14th century). This church has very interesting altarpieces from the end of the 15th and 16th centuries, set in beautiful chapels that were sponsored by Burgos merchants.

- Cathedral of Santa María. Magnificent Gothic cathedral with French influences. Construction work began in 1221 thanks to sponsorship by King Alfonso X and Bishop Mauricio. It has three naves, a transept and an ambulatory. It also has a number of outstanding chapels, such as that of El Condestable. The dome is a beautiful piece from the Renaissance.

- Palace of Maluenda or Castilfalé (16th century). A number of later alterations were made to the original construction, which has now been restored to house the municipal archives.

- Church of San Nicolás de Bari (15th century). The interior houses several interesting tombs, although the highlight is the outstanding 16th century stone main altarpiece, the work of Francis of Cologne.

- Fernán González Arch (late 16th century). This arch is situated on the site where the house of Fernán González is believed to have stood.

- Monument to ‘El Empecinado’. This memorial contains the mortal remains of the famous soldier who took part in the Peninsular War.

- Solar de El Cid (18th century). This marks the spot where the house of Rodrigo Díaz, better known as El Cid, stood.

- San Martín Arch (14th century). Built in the Mudejar style, this is the gate that pilgrims would pass through on their way out of the city.

- Santa María Arch (16th century) Formerly one of the principal gate ways into the walled city, today it is one of Burgos’ principal cultural centres.

- Church of San Pedro de la Fuente. The original church was destroyed during the Peninsular War. The current building dates back to the 19th century.

- Malatos Bridge (12th century). Rebuilt in the 18th century. It was named Malatos (which comes from an old Spanish word meaning sick persons) due to the nearby leper hospital.

- Chapel of San Amaro (17th century). This chapel houses the tomb dating back to the same century that contains the remains of St Amaro, a French pilgrim who cared for the infirm in the Hospital del Rey.

- Hospital del Rey (late 12th century). Founded by Alphonse VIII under the jurisdiction of the Abbess of Las Huelgas. This was one of the most important hospitals on the entire Pilgrims’ Route to Santiago. Today it houses the offices of the University of Burgos.

- Charterhouse of Miraflores. A 15th century Gothic building noted for its magnificent altarpiece and the superb tombs of King John II his wife Isabella of Portugal and Prince Alphonse, all dating back to the late 15th century and the work of Gil de Siloé.

- -Monastery of Las Huelgas. Alphonse VIII of Castile and his wife Eleanor Plantagenet commissioned this monastery at the end of the 12th century. Worthy of note is the elegant Chapter House, as well as the cloisters, altarpieces, reliefs, carvings, the courtyard where the Curpillos Festival is held, and tapestries. The Chapel of Santiago houses a seated articulated image of the apostle with a sword in his right hand.

- The Museum of Human Evolution (MHE). Designed by architect Juan Navarro Baldeweg, the mission of this museum is to provide visitors with an insight into the major discoveries of the Atapuerca Archaeological Site and encourage them to discover the site and its countless