The El Escorial, located in San Lorenzo de El Escorial outside of Madrid, is a huge multi-functional building that is known as the most important architectural monument of the Spanish Renaissance. Construction began in the year 1563 and it went on for 21 years. El Escorial was commissioned by King Philip II and he wanted it to serve as a monastery, a burial for this father (Carlos V…who I am kind of obsessed with), and a palace. Two different architects were involved in the building of this palace and more than five different painters from all different backgrounds were asked to paint frescoes and other works of art.
King Philip II won a huge battle between Spain and France in the middle of the 1500’s on the day of Saint Lawrence (San Lorenzo) and so El Escorial was built to commemorate the victory. We could spend hours talking about who San Lorenzo was but in a short summary he was a Roman who was burned alive on a gridiron for his Christian beliefs. King Philip II was also a devout Christian so he believed that he needed to build a palace in honor because he won that battle on the day of this saint.
Inside you get to see the hundreds of portraits, frescoes, and marble sculptures. Down a flight of stairs and you encounter the burial room (called the “Pantheon of Kings”) which holds some of Spain’s most well known kings and queens. The monastery and the room of King Philip II which overlooks the altar and the library are also important visits while inside the monastery. The library is my all time favorite part of this building. The frescoes on the ceiling and the old world globes, scientific tools, and gold painted books makes me want to sit for hours and read. I snuck a photo of the place even though we aren’t supposed to but I just wanted to make sure you guys saw why I love this room so much!
Isn’t that the most beautiful library you’ve ever seen?? (I just really love libraries)
My creep picture of Carlos V (THE Spanish king, Holy Roman Emperor, all around badass)
You aren’t allowed to take any pictures inside El Escorial so I do not have more to show you but it is an amazing palace and you if you find yourself in Madrid it is worth taking a day trip to see this place. So if you go let me know! I’d love to know what you think about it.