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. Wachau Cultural Landscape

    Wachau Cultural Landscape

  2. Neolithic Flint Mines at Spiennes (Mons)

    Neolithic Flint Mines at Spiennes (Mons)

  3. Gough and Inaccessible Islands

    Gough and Inaccessible Islands

  1. Lednice – Valtice Cultural Landscape

    Lednice – Valtice Cultural Landscape

  2. Universidade de Coimbra

    Universidade de Coimbra

  3. Aranjuez Cultural Landscape

    Aranjuez Cultural Landscape

  1. Upper Middle Rhine Valley

    Upper Middle Rhine Valley

  2. Warszawa

    Warszawa

  3. Antonine Wall

    Antonine Wall

  1. The Four Lifts on the Canal du Centre and their Environs, La Louvière and Le Roeulx (Hainault)

    The Four Lifts on the Canal du Centre and their Environs, La Louvière and Le Roeulx (Hainault)

  2. L’viv – the Ensemble of the Historic Centre

    L’viv – the Ensemble of the Historic Centre

  3. Wartburg Castle

    Wartburg Castle

  1. Old Town of Segovia and its Aqueduct

    Old Town of Segovia and its Aqueduct

  2. Monasteries of Haghpat and Sanahin

    Monasteries of Haghpat and Sanahin

  3. Pitons, cirques and remparts of Reunion Island

    Pitons, cirques and remparts of Reunion Island

  1. Porto Venere

    Porto Venere

  2. Kremlin and Red Square, Moscow

    Kremlin and Red Square, Moscow

  3. Renaissance Monumental Ensembles of Úbeda and Baeza

    Renaissance Monumental Ensembles of Úbeda and Baeza

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

    Ferrara, City of the Renaissance, and its Po Delta

  2. Schokland and Surroundings

    Schokland and Surroundings

  3. Laponian Area

    Laponian Area

  1. Roskilde Cathedral

    Roskilde Cathedral

  2. The Wadden Sea

    The Wadden Sea

  3. Ilulissat Icefjord

    Ilulissat Icefjord

  1. Our Lady of Ljeviš

    Our Lady of Ljeviš

  2. Cathedral, Alcázar and Archivo de Indias in Seville

    Cathedral, Alcázar and Archivo de Indias in Seville

  3. Abbey and Altenmünster of Lorsch

    Abbey and Altenmünster of Lorsch

  1. Tower of Hercules

    Tower of Hercules

  2. Canterbury Cathedral, St. Augustine’s Abbey, and St. Martin’s Church

    Canterbury Cathedral, St. Augustine’s Abbey, and St. Martin’s Church

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

    Ferrara, City of the Renaissance, and its Po Delta

  1. City of Luxembourg: its Old Quarters and Fortifications

    City of Luxembourg: its Old Quarters and Fortifications

  2. Historic Areas of Istanbul

    Historic Areas of Istanbul

  3. Works of Antoni Gaudí

    Works of Antoni Gaudí

  1. City of Graz – Historic Centre and Schloss Eggenberg

    City of Graz – Historic Centre and Schloss Eggenberg

  2. Episcopal City of Albi

    Episcopal City of Albi

  3. Frontiers of the Roman Empire

    Frontiers of the Roman Empire

  1. Historic Site of Lyons

    Historic Site of Lyons

  2. Pienza

    Pienza

  3. Royal Monastery of Santa María de Guadalupe

    Royal Monastery of Santa María de Guadalupe

facebook comments
Comment
To the Top