The idea that your jaw can drop in amazement is somewhat of a cliché, and most writers are urged to avoid the phrase. And yet, sometimes it happens. The Cathedral in Burgos, inside and out, is one of those places that can cause your jaw to articulate downward— more than once. It’s a stunning example of the power of devotion in ancient times. And I can still feel its power as it leaves me nearly speechless and struggling to describe the visual splendor within.

This is a stunning World Heritage site. Construction took place from 1221 to 1293 and yet, thanks to changes and embellishments, 300 years passed before the church was considered complete. Even today the cathedral dominates Burgos; imagine the scene 500 years ago when nothing else in the vicinity was taller than two stories.

It’s an amazing church with multiple spires, domed ceilings, great arches, and detailed carvings — it was hard to know where to look. The sculptures, hewn from stone and wood, are unbelievably complex. There are multiple gilded altars inside numerous chapels — so many that all we could do was gape in astonishment as we walked by. Many of the retablos (carved altarpieces) behind the altars are intricate to the smallest detail. And our excellent local guide, Luis, brought it all to life.

And in the midst of all this incredible gothic artistry is the Papamoscas (nicknamed the Flycatcher), an odd-looking articulated half-man statue located high in the nave that simultaneously moves its right arm (to ring a bell) and opens its mouth every hour. A clear case of whimsy in the midst of this Gothic splendor in Burgos.

Written by: Paul Deans – TQ Editor


  1. Though I would like to see it in person, I feel like I already have. Great write up.

    Christine |

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