The siege on the castle of Burgos

The siege on the castle of Burgos

The siege on the castle of Burgos

The siege on the castle of Burgos

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During the first years of XIX century, a conflictive foreign policy allowed the entrance of the French Army leaded by Napoleon in the Iberian Peninsule, as an excuse for invading Portugal. What started as a passage area soon became a tedious, full-scale military occupation.The rebellious reaction of the spanish soon come out, and unleashed from 1808 to 1813 an open conflict between Spain and France: The Spanish Independence war.

Burgos, due to its privileged geographical position in the iberian peninsula, became a key bastion during the war. The dilapidated medieval castle was transformed by order of Napoleon himself into a defensive rear stronghold if retreat was necessary, and a logistic centre for his army.
He assigned a garrison of french troops to secure the city, a city where almost every important persona of the time went, and where hundreds of thousands of soldiers went in and out daily.

From 1808 on, the castle and his bordering hillsides were completely transformed when a new fortified facility was erected, composed by three defensive trenches. Also another stronghold was established on San Miguel mountain, known as “Hornabeque”. Until 1812 the garrison guarding the castle didn’t have significant problems, but that autumn, duke Wellington arrived to Burgos, chasing part of the french army destined in Portugal, after he beat them on the battle of Arapiles. Believing that the capture of the castle would be easy, he planned different assault strategies to take the fortress. But the french defenders, leaded by the french brigade general Dubreton were able to put up a fierce resistance, hanging on the harrying of the english lord for 35 days.

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What to see :

  • VISITING THE CASTLE’S WELL


    A visit to the core of the Castle is highly recommended. The itinerary starts with a descent to the main gallery, which can be accessed across the “Cave of the Moor”. After overcoming the first 7 and a half metres over four flights of stairs, we arrive at the main underground gallery, which is sixty metres in length and has a width that varies between sections, from 1 to 1.2 metres, while the height changes from 1.6 to 2 metres.


    The entire gallery can be visited until reaching a spiral staircase, where you can climb up to the parapet of the well and go outside. The well measures 61.5 metres in depth andis surrounded by a spiral staircase formed by six flights with a total of 295 steps. The five junctions between the flights are made of concentric corridors to the well.