A masterpiece; Monastery of San Lorenzo de El Escorial

This is one of the jewels of our times, a masterpiece of construction and a must to visit on your travels to Spain, especially if around Madrid. I have a long history with the place, the Monasterio de San Lorenzo de El Escorial, in the Comunidad de Madrid region.

First, it’s official webpage here in English: http://www.sanlorenzoturismo.org/en

And the city hall page in Spanish on history: http://www.aytosanlorenzo.es/historia/

Finally, the national heritage of Spain site in English : https://www.patrimonionacional.es/real-sitio/palacios/6172

My dear late mother brought me here for the first time back in 1972 as a boy, and at first just realized the grandeur of the place and nothing more. On subsequent trips with her already a teenager realized the history that it is within it the history of our Spain, and it hit me greatly. The place, the history, architecture ,and the knowledge.

In 1990, I brought here what was my girlfriend and now wife; coming in her VW Golf from France. I needed to show her my Spain, and the places dear to me in my life story; this is one of them. We had a flat tire on Floridablanca  street ,and had to call in a tow truck to a mechanic place nearby that unfortunately the name now fades ; to fix the tire. It remains one of the anecdotes of coming here.

Do not know why when on previous trips we went someplace else and never had come with the boys until now. Well they are now young men, and better to understand this place and their bloodlines; I acting as the tour guide now ,very proudly telling them the folks that laid here and their place in Spanish/European and even World history.

The place still is huge, magnificent and with style. It was unbelievable meaningful walking thru it’s front doors again with my family; remembering Mom always in my heart.

There is so much information written on it elsewhere, will just cover the basic here and encouraged you, beg you to come and visit this place. I came here by car from our base in Las Majadas (Cuenca) on the A40, then A3, then the M30 beltway to connect with the A6 and into the M505 that takes you here. We parked easily at the Plaza de la Constitucion underground parking.

We had our treats for Churros at the La Churreria de San Lorenzo next to the market by same name yummy good; and later had our lunch more like a drink snack at the Meson de 5 Bellotas by Plaza de la Cruz near our parking. We purchased breads at the Panaderia Vicente, Calle Duque de Alba to munch on the way around our trip in the area!

The town was set up in the 18C and became a municipality early in the 19C with its first mayor.  The old town was called El Escorial, and it  came from lands king Felipe II purchased and built the Monastery by the end of the 16C. The town was not name San Lorenzo de El Escorial until 1767. Since the 16C it is considered the 8th wonder of the world, and it should be.

The building is in renaissance style on the hills of the monte Abantos at 1028 meters high. It had some changes to the style from its last architect Juan de Herrera ,called Herrerista. The building is 33 327 m2 and has 16 patios, 88 fountains, 13 oratories, 15 cloisters, 86 stairs, 9 towers, 1200 doors and 2673 windows!!! It’s principal façade has 207 meters long! The main rooms are the Pantéon de los Reyes  (Pantheon of the Kings), Real Basilica (Royal Basilica), and Real Biblioteca (Royal Library).

In the surrounding forests:parks of the monastery you must see the Casita del Principe Don Carlos, and the Casita del Infante. Two small houses in neo classic palace style construction from the 18C. Both were built for recreational homes of the prince Carlos IV (Prince of Asturias) and his brother the Infante Gabriel de Borbon ; the children of king Carlos III. However, even if served as a place of residence and burial of the monarchs of hte houses of Austria and Bourbon only one was born here. He was king Fernando VII born at the Monastery in 1784 and died in Madrid in 1833.

Do not forget in addition to the above to visit in the Monastery the Palacio de los Borbones (o Felipe II) ,and Austria’s (or Hapsburg’s) ; Convent, main stair, hall or sala de Batallas (battles) , Panteon de los Infantes (pantheon of the princes) and the pretty gardens.

In town, see the Real Coliseo Carlos III, Casa del Duque de Alba, Cocheras del Rey,Mercado de San Lorenzo, etc. The city center is full of historical buildings and great architectural marvels.

In all , it was the highlight of the trip with the always exception of Madrid ::) Many memories flashing my mind as we walked and saw this place again like nothing has change in all these years! San Lorenzo de El Escorial is immense, beautiful, impressive, and architecturally gorgeous. Enjoy it!!!

It won’t passed that many years to see it again. Cheers y’all ::)

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One Comment to “A masterpiece; Monastery of San Lorenzo de El Escorial”

  1. Exquisite! Thank you for sharing your family memories and such a beautiful and special place.

    Liked by 1 person

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