This section is from "Scientific American Supplement Volumes 275, 286, 288, 299, 303, 312, 315, 324, 344 and 358". Also available from Amazon: Scientific American Reference Book.
This most remarkable structure, in the province of the same name, adorns the city of Burgos, 130 miles north of Madrid. The corner stone was laid July 20, A.D. 1221, by Fernando III., and his Queen Beatrice, assisted by Archbishop Mauricio. The world is indebted to Mauricio for the selection of the site, and for the general idea and planning of what he intended should be, and in fact now is, the finest temple of worship in the world. This immense stone structure, embellished with airy columns, pointed arches, statues, inscriptions, delicate crestings, and flanked by two needles or aerial arrows, rises toward the heavens, a sublime invocation of Christian genius.
Illuminated by the morning sun it appears, at a certain distance, as if the pyramids were floating in space; further on is seen the marvelous dome of the transept, crowned with eight towers of chiseled lace-work, over the center of the church.
Pubic worship was held in a portion of the edifice nine years after the work was begun; from that time onward for three hundred years, various additional portions were completed. On March 4, 1539, the great transept, built fifty years previous, fell down; but was soon restored. August 16, 1642, at 6½ o'clock, P.M., a furious hurricane overthrew the eight little towers that form the exterior corner of the dome; but in two years they were replaced, namely July 19, 1644: the same night the great bells sounded an alarm of fire, the transept having in some way become ignited. The activity of the populace, however, prevented the loss of the edifice, which for a time was in great danger.
The first architect publicly mentioned in the archives of the edifice was the Master Enrique. He also directed the work of the Cathedral of Leon. He died July 10, 1277. The second architect was Juan Perez, who died in 1296, and was buried in the cloister, under the cathedral. He is believed to have been either the son or brother of the celebrated Master Pedro Perez, who designed the Cathedral of Toledo, and who died in 1299. The third architect of the Cathedral of Burgos was Pedro Sanchez, who directed the work in 1384; after him followed Juan Sanchez de Molina, Martin Fernandez, the three Colonias, Juan de Vallejo, Diego de Siloe, the elder Nicolas de Vergara, Matienzo, Pieredonda, Gil, Regines, and others. It is worthy of note that a number of Moorish architects were employed on the work during the 14th and 15th centuries, such as Mohomad, Yunce, the Master Hali, the Master Mahomet de Aranda, the Master Yunza de Carrion, the Master Carpenter Brahen. Among the figure sculptors employed were Juan Sanchez de Fromesta, the Masters Gil and Copin, the famous Felipe de Vigardi, Juan de Lancre, Anton de Soto, Juan de Villareal, Pedro de Colindres, and many others. Our engraving is from a recent number of La Ilustracion Espanola y Americana.
DRWAWING BY M. HEBERT.