Monastery and Site of the Escurial, Madrid

Monastery and Site of the Escurial, Madrid

The Royal Site of San Lorenzo de El Escorial is a historical residence of the King of Spain, in the town of San Lorenzo de El Escorial, about 45 kilometres (28 mi) northwest of the capital, Madrid, in Spain. It is one of the Spanish royal sites and functions as a monastery, royal palace, museum, and school. There is another town, 2.06 km further down the valley (4.1 km road distance), called ‘El Escorial’.

The Escorial comprises two architectural complexes of great historical and cultural significance: the royal monastery itself and La Granjilla de La Fresneda, a royal hunting lodge and monastic retreat about five kilometres away. These sites have a dual nature; that is to say, during the 16th and 17th centuries, they were places in which the power of the Spanish monarchy and the ecclesiastical predominance of the Roman Catholic religion in Spain found a common architectural manifestation. El Escorial was, at once, a monastery and a Spanish royal palace. Originally a property of the Hieronymite monks, it is now a monastery of the Order of Saint Augustine.

Philip II of Spain, reacting to the Protestant Reformation sweeping through Europe during the 16th century, devoted much of his lengthy reign (1556–1598) and much of his seemingly inexhaustible supply of New World gold to stemming the Protestant tide. His protracted efforts were, in the long run, partly successful; however, the same counter-reformational impulse had a much more benign expression thirty years earlier in Philip’s decision to build the complex at El Escorial.

Philip engaged the Spanish architect, Juan Bautista de Toledo, to be his collaborator in the design of El Escorial. Juan Bautista had spent the greater part of his career in Rome, where he had worked on the basilica of St. Peter’s, and in Naples, where he had served the king’s viceroy, whose recommendation brought him to the king’s attention. Philip appointed him architect-royal in 1559, and together they designed El Escorial as a monument to Spain’s role as a center of the Christian world.

On 2 November 1984, UNESCO declared The Royal Seat of San Lorenzo of El Escorial a World Heritage Site. It is a popular tourist attraction, often visited by day-trippers from Madrid – more than 500,000 visitors come to El Escorial every year.

Outline
The Royal Site of San Lorenzo de El Escorial is a historical residence of the King of Spain, in the town of San Lorenzo de El Escorial, about 45 kilometres (28 mi) northwest of the capital, Madrid, in Spain.

Recommended world heritage video

  1. Old and New Towns of Edinburgh

    Old and New Towns of Edinburgh

  2. Historic Fortified City of Carcassonne

    Historic Fortified City of Carcassonne

  3. The Loire Valley between Sully-sur-Loire and Chalonnes

    The Loire Valley between Sully-sur-Loire and Chalonnes

  1. Renaissance Monumental Ensembles of Úbeda and Baeza

    Renaissance Monumental Ensembles of Úbeda and Baeza

  2. Schokland and Surroundings

    Schokland and Surroundings

  3. La Chaux-de-Fonds / Le Locle, watchmaking town planning

    La Chaux-de-Fonds / Le Locle, watchmaking town planning

  1. Mines of Rammelsberg, Historic Town of Goslar and Upper Harz Water Management System

    Mines of Rammelsberg, Historic Town of Goslar and Upper Harz Water Management System

  2. Ring of Brodgar

    Ring of Brodgar

  3. Castle of the Teutonic Order in Malbork

    Castle of the Teutonic Order in Malbork

  1. La Lonja de la Seda de Valencia

    La Lonja de la Seda de Valencia

  2. Mont-Saint-Michel and its Bay

    Mont-Saint-Michel and its Bay

  3. Meteora

    Meteora

  1. Alto Douro Wine Region

    Alto Douro Wine Region

  2. Laponian Area

    Laponian Area

  3. Monuments of Oviedo and the Kingdom of the Asturias

    Monuments of Oviedo and the Kingdom of the Asturias

  1. Monasteries of Haghpat and Sanahin

    Monasteries of Haghpat and Sanahin

  2. Old Rauma

    Old Rauma

  3. Rila Monastery

    Rila Monastery

  1. Gough and Inaccessible Islands

    Gough and Inaccessible Islands

  2. Medieval City of Rhodes

    Medieval City of Rhodes

  3. Kremlin and Red Square, Moscow

    Kremlin and Red Square, Moscow

  1. Ilulissat Icefjord

    Ilulissat Icefjord

  2. Kremlin and Red Square, Moscow

    Kremlin and Red Square, Moscow

  3. Early Christian Monuments of Ravenna

    Early Christian Monuments of Ravenna

  1. Engelsberg Ironworks

    Engelsberg Ironworks

  2. Ironbridge Gorge

    Ironbridge Gorge

  3. Rhaetian Railway in the Albula / Bernina Landscapes

    Rhaetian Railway in the Albula / Bernina Landscapes

  1. Churches of Peace in Jawor and Swidnica

    Churches of Peace in Jawor and Swidnica

  2. Levoča, Spišský Hrad and the Associated Cultural Monuments

    Levoča, Spišský Hrad and the Associated Cultural Monuments

  3. Monasteries of Haghpat and Sanahin

    Monasteries of Haghpat and Sanahin

  1. City of Luxembourg: its Old Quarters and Fortifications

    City of Luxembourg: its Old Quarters and Fortifications

  2. Historic Site of Lyons

    Historic Site of Lyons

  3. Portovenere, Cinque Terre, and the Islands (Palmaria, Tino and Tinetto)

    Portovenere, Cinque Terre, and the Islands (Palmaria, Tino and Tinetto)

  1. Ferrara, City of the Renaissance, and its Po Delta

    Ferrara, City of the Renaissance, and its Po Delta

  2. Monastic Island of Reichenau

    Monastic Island of Reichenau

  3. Episcopal City of Albi

    Episcopal City of Albi

  1. Hanseatic City of Lübeck

    Hanseatic City of Lübeck

  2. Antonine Wall

    Antonine Wall

  3. Limes

    Limes

facebook comments
Comment
To the Top