Generally agreed to possess the greatest Gothic cathedral in Spain, Burgos was once a mighty Christian kingdom in the days before Spanish unification, being the capital of Old Castile during the middle ages. This century it again had the 'distinction' of becoming the 'capital' for the Franco's Nationalist forces during the civil war. Burgos is also especially significant for its associations with the medieval warrior Rodrigo Vivar de Díaz, better known as 'El Cid'. You'll see his name everywhere, even over the city's best hotel and restaurant. Burgos covers hundreds of kilometres of ground and there are many historic monuments and places well worth seeing.
On the outskirts of the capital of Burgos is the monastery of Las Huelgas Reales founded in 1187 by Alfonso VIII and his wife, Eleanor of Plantagenet. The burnished oak flooring, where the nuns still kneel in long hours of devotion, was laid in the sixteenth century as a concession to the freezing Burgos winters. The convent contains tombs of the early Castilian monarchy whose embalmed remains were found to be dressed in Mooorish silks. These superbly-crafted and preserved medieval garments are on display in the convent's carefully climatised museum.
Moving further away from the city, there is one of the finest Romanesque cloisters in Europe at Santo Domingo de Silos; the monastery also preserves its historical pharmacy-museum. The Benedictine monks of Silos perform an impressive chant, and their recordings have reached world markets in recent years.