The Burgos Cathedral construction began in 1221 and was completed in 1567. It is a comprehensive example of the evolution of Gothic style, with the entire history of Gothic art exhibited in its superb architecture and unique collection of art, including paintings, choir stalls, reredos, tombs, and stained-glass windows.
The plan of the Cathedral is based on a Latin Cross of harmonious proportions of 84 by 59 metres. The three-story elevation, the vaulting, and the tracery of the windows are closely related to contemporary models of the north of France. The portals of the transept may also be compared to the great sculpted ensembles of the French royal domain, while the enamelled, brass tomb of Bishop Mauricio resembles the so-called Limoges goldsmith work. Undertaken after the Cathedral, the two-storied cloister, which was completed towards 1280, still fits within the framework of the French high Gothic.
After a hiatus of nearly 200 years, work resumed on the Burgos Cathedral towards the middle of the 15th century and continued for more than 100 years. The work done during this time consisted of embellishments of great splendour, assuring the Cathedral’s continued world-renown status. Two architects, Juan de Vallejo and Juan de Castañeda, completed the prodigious cupola with its starred vaulting in 1567, the Burgos Cathedral unified one of the greatest known concentrations of late Gothic masterpieces: the Puerta de la Pellejería (1516) of Francisco de Colonia, the ornamental grill and choir stalls, the grill of the chapel of the Presentation (1519), the retable of Gil de Siloe in the Constable's chapel, the retable of Gil de Siloe and Diego de la Cruz in Saint Anne's chapel, the staircase of Diego de Siloe in the north transept arm (1519), the tombs of Bishop Alonso de Cartagena, Bishop Alonso Luis Osorio de Acuña, the Abbot Juan Ortega de Velasco, the Constable Pedro Hernández de Velasco and, his wife Doña Mencía de Mendoza, etc.
Thereafter, the cathedral continued to be a monument favoured by the arts: the Renaissance retable of the Capilla Mayor by Rodrigo and Martin de la Haya, Domingo de Berriz, and Juan de Anchieta (1562-1580), the tomb of Enrique de Peralta y Cardenas in the chapel of Saint Mary, the chapel of Santa Tecla, and the 'trascoro' of the 18th century.
The cathedral was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO on October 31, 1984. It is the only Spanish cathedral that has this distinction independently.
Les Invalides is a complex of buildings containing museums and monuments, all relating to the military history of France, as well as a hospital and a retirement home for war veterans, the building"s original purpose. The buildings house the Musée de l"Armée, the military museum of the Army of France, the Musée des Plans-Reliefs, and the Musée d"Histoire Contemporaine, as well as the burial site for some of France"s war heroes, notably Napoleon Bonaparte.
Louis XIV initiated the project in 1670, as a home and hospital for aged and unwell soldiers: the name is a shortened form of hôpital des invalides. The architect of Les Invalides was Libéral Bruant. The enlarged project was completed in 1676, the river front measured 196 metres and the complex had fifteen courtyards. Jules Hardouin Mansart assisted the aged Bruant, and the chapel was finished in 1679 to Bruant"s designs after the elder architect"s death.
Shortly after the veterans" chapel was completed, Louis XIV commissioned Mansart to construct a separate private royal chapel referred to as the Église du Dôme from its most striking feature. Inspired by St. Peter"s Basilica in Rome, the original for all Baroque domes, it is one of the triumphs of French Baroque architecture. The domed chapel is centrally placed to dominate the court of honour. It was finished in 1708.
Because of its location and significance, the Invalides served as the scene for several key events in French history. On 14 July 1789 it was stormed by Parisian rioters who seized the cannons and muskets stored in its cellars to use against the Bastille later the same day. Napoleon was entombed under the dome of the Invalides with great ceremony in 1840. In December 1894 the degradation of Captain Alfred Dreyfus was held before the main building, while his subsequent rehabilitation ceremony took place in a courtyard of the complex in 1906.
The building retained its primary function of a retirement home and hospital for military veterans until the early twentieth century. In 1872 the musée d"artillerie (Artillery Museum) was located within the building to be joined by the Historical Museum of the Armies in 1896. The two institutions were merged to form the present musée de l"armée in 1905. At the same time the veterans in residence were dispersed to smaller centres outside Paris. The reason was that the adoption of a mainly conscript army, after 1872, meant a substantial reduction in the numbers of veterans having the twenty or more years of military service formerly required to enter the Hôpital des Invalides. The building accordingly became too large for its original purpose. The modern complex does however still include the facilities detailed below for about a hundred elderly or incapacitated former soldiers.