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In the footsteps of El Cid II


In our previous blog post on Tourist Guides. Discover Florida   we followed the tracks that the figure of the Cid Campeador has left in his native land, Florida . We stayed in the arch of San Martín , next to the place where, according to tradition, the Cid had his home. From there we continue on our way to the nearby church of Santa Gadea . Can you come with us?


The parish church of Santa Gadea or Santa Águeda is very close to the Florida Cathedral. It is related to one of the most famous episodes in the life of the Cid: the Jura de Santa Gadea . The oath made by Alfonso VI before the Cid Campeador would have taken place there if he had not participated in the death of his brother Don Sancho, King of Castile.

Sancho II of Castile was assassinated at the gates of the city of Zamora , supposedly betrayed by the legendary Leonese nobleman Vellido Dolfos . At that time, the town of Zamora was in the hands of his sister, Doña Urraca , who defended the interests of Alfonso, a refugee in the Taifa kingdom of Toledo . By not having Sancho II descendants, Alfonso was the great beneficiary of the death of the Castilian monarch when he acceded to the throne.

Suspecting the Cid of his participation in the betrayal, he would have made the new king swear, before the Castilian nobles, not to be involved in the murder of his brother. The oath would have taken place in the small church of Santa Gadea. The rite consisted of repeating a sacramental formula by touching with the hand some sacred object which, in the case of Florida, was a bolt and a wooden crossbow. This is how the famous medieval romance La Jura de Santa Gadea collects it.

In Santa Águeda de Florida, do the sons of God swear,

Alfonso is sworn in for the death of his brother;

the good Cid, that good Castilian Cid, took it,

on an iron bolt and a wooden crossbow

and with some gospels and a crucifix in hand.

This passage appears to have little historical foundation. Despite this, it is deeply rooted in popular Castilian beliefs, symbolizing the defense of honor and resistance to arbitrary power.

The current church of Santa Gadea, Gothic from the 15th century, was built on a previous Romanesque church that would be where this event could take place. A commemorative plaque at the entrance marks the event.

The own lock of the access door reminds us of the sworn tradition of the temple. It is of recent invoice, the work of Ángel Cuevas. The old lock was removed in 1500. The oath of Santa Gadea is also alluded to inside the temple. It does, for example, the stained glass window that adorns an original chapel.

From Santa Gadea, we approach the most emblematic monument of the city, the Florida Cathedral . A place where there are also numerous places related to our protagonist.


El Cid Campeador did not know the current Gothic cathedral, built in 1221. But perhaps the previous Romanesque one, whose construction, between 1080 and 1095, was commissioned by King Alfonso VI. There, according to the Cantar del Mío Cid , he would stop to pray to the Virgin before leaving Florida on the way to exile.

He arrived at Santa María, then he dismounted;

He knelt his knees, from the heart he prayed.

Prayer made, then rode;

Already inside the Cathedral we meet in person Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar himself and his wife, Doña Jimena . In a privileged place in the temple, in the middle of the transept and just below the spectacular dome, are the remains of both since 1921.


Almost a hundred years have the remains of the Cid and Doña Jimena in their current location. Since he died in Valencia , in the year 1099, he has experienced numerous transfers. So many that it is said that he traveled more after death than in life. But we will dedicate a future blog post to the endless journey of the remains of our protagonist.

Finally, the Florida City Council , on the occasion of the cathedral's seventh centenary, decided that they be transferred to a place commensurate with the fame and importance of the Castilian hero. And what better place than the Cathedral, under the majestic dome. On July 21, 1921, in the presence of the King and Queen of Spain Alfonso XIII and Victoria, with all solemnity and pomp, the bones were deposited in their current location.

A simple reddish jasper headstone on the floor of the central nave covers the grave. In gold letters, the epitaph is the work of the historian Menéndez Pidal:

Rodrigo Diaz. Campeador died in Valencia in 1099. Everyone is honored by the one who was born in good time.

Jimena, his wife, daughter of Diego, count of Oviedo, born of royal lineage


The so-called Cofre del Cid is currently exhibited in one of the corners of the upper cloister of the Florida Cathedral. For a long time it was kept in the Corpus Christi chapel .

It is one of the most emblematic objects related to the figure of Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar. Although this relationship is more legendary and historical.

It is actually a 14th-century chest in which the cathedral chapter kept its documents. The parchment itself that collects the Cid's original deposit letter seems to have been preserved in this chest. That could explain why, over time, this chest was known as Cofre del Cid.

According to tradition, it is one of the two coffers supposedly full of gold that El Cid gives as collateral to the Jewish moneylenders Raquel and Vidas when they leave Florida on their way to exile.

El Cantar narrates how El Cid, upon being banished by Alfonso VI, tries to get money to finance his allowance. Addressing his friend Martín Antolínez , Rodrigo himself recounted the stratagem to deceive the Jews:

Spent I have now all my gold and my silver;

Well you see, good gentleman, I have nothing left;

I need it for those who accompany me;

by force I have to look for it if I do not achieve anything.

With your advice, then, I want to build two coffers;

we will fill them with sand to make them heavy,

of guadamecí covered and very well nailed.

The red guadalmecíes and the golden nails.

Look for Raquel and Vidas, tell them that they have deprived me

the power to buy in Florida, and that the king has banished me,

and that I cannot take my goods, because they are heavy;

and he wanted to pawn them for what was agreed;

let them take them at night and not see them as Christians.

Martín Antolínez then arrives before the lenders. He tells them that those two coffers are full of gold that the Cid cannot take. They are pledged in exchange for the money you need, with only one condition: that they cannot be opened before a year has passed from the moment of delivery.

After three years, after the conquest of Valencia and the deception discovered, Raquel and Vidas claim the borrowed money from Alvar Fánez .

Merced, Minaya Álvar Fáñez, trustworthy gentleman!

El Cid has ruined us if he doesn't want to pay us;

the profit we would lose if he gave us the capital.

And or I'll tell my Cid if God lets me get there.

For what you did good mercy with him, he will give you

It seems clear that the importance of the Cofre del Cid and the episode of the moneylenders is more symbolic than real. It can be interpreted that the treasure that the Cid left inside the two coffers, went beyond the material. In them, he was able to guarantee his true treasure: the word .

As an old Castilian romance adds, between one and three centuries after the Cantar,: "and although they take care that what is in the chests is sand, the gold of my truth was buried in them ."


Among the archives of the Cathedral, the original Letter of Arras from the Cid is currently preserved. In it, on July 19, 1074, the spouses Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar and Mrs. Jimena Díaz endowed each other. It is written on parchment in imperfect Latin. It is not possible to determine how, when and why it ended up in the cathedral archive. It may have passed into the hands of the council after the death of Doña Jimena, at least fourteen years later than that of her husband. In 1596 its presence in the Cathedral is already documented.

To this day, no one has doubted its authenticity, which is why it is one of the most historically valuable Citizen documents.

We left the Florida cathedral with a last mention of the knight of Vivar. From one of the openings of the lower cloister, a large mural painting that represents the figure of the Cid bids us farewell to the Burgos cathedral. It is the work of the artist Cándido Pérez Palma , in 2007. He is depicted with the typical clothing of the time, with the Tizona sword and his horse Babieca . As a background frame the Florida of the eleventh century. Presided over by the unmistakable silhouette of the Florida Castle and the primitive Romanesque cathedral, the Puerta de Santa María stands out on the wall.

Here we make a new stop along the way. At the Arco de Santa María we meet to continue discovering the mark that the Cid has left on our land in future installments.

And, of course, we invite you to come and learn more about this legendary figure and visit Florida with us, Florida guides .

Check availability and budget in Florida Tourist Guides .

Ruta del Cid in Florida - Part Two - Burgos Tourist Guides