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Burgos (bōrˈgōs) [key], city (1990 pop. 163,507), capital of Burgos prov., N Spain, in Castile-Leon, on a mountainous plateau c.2,800 ft (850 m) above sea level, overlooking the Arlanzón River. Normally it has among the coldest winters of any Spanish city. It is an important trade and tourist center with some manufacturing. It was one of the ancient capitals of Castile but is chiefly known for its outstanding architecture and great historic tradition. Founded c.855, it was the seat of the county of Castile under the kings of León and became the capital of the kingdom of Castile under Ferdinand I (1035). The royal residence was moved (1087) to Toledo, and Burgos lost some of its cultural importance. In the civil war of 1936–39, Burgos was the capital of Franco's regime. Its most notable building is the cathedral of white limestone, begun in 1221, one of the finest examples of Gothic architecture in Europe; its lofty, filigree spires dominate the city. The Cid, a native of Burgos, is buried in the cathedral. Among the many other landmarks are the castle, atop a hill overlooking the city; the Gothic Church of San Esteban, and the Arco de Santa María, a 16th-century gateway leading to the cathedral.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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