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San Lorenzo del Escorial and the Valley of the Fallen

From: 450,00



In this 8 hour day tour, you will travel about 60 km Northwest of Madrid to “Sierra de Guadarrama” for visiting two major monuments nearby the capital. The Monastery of Saint Lawrence the Royal of El Escorial and the Valley of the Fallen.

You will certainly appreciate this unique experience discovering a significant part of the Spanish history, enjoying the pleasant transfers in our comfortable cars or vans and tasting the delicious Spanish gastronomy.

The tour includes:
All entrance fees of the visited sites
Visiting all monuments with a private official guide
Approximately 1 hour drive from your hotel in Madrid to San Lorenzo de El Escorial
2 hour visit with an official guide at the Monastery of Saint Lawrence the Royal of El Escorial
Transfer about 15 minutes to the Valley of the Fallen
1 hour visit at the Valley of the Fallen
Approx 1 h drive back to your hotel in Madrid

All tours of Citytoursinmadrid can be customized. Send your personal interest to info@citytoursinmadrid.es and we will make a personalized proposal. Suggestions like:

- La silla de Filipe II
- El Bosque Espiritu

The Monastery of San Lorenzo de El Escorial

The Pride of the Spanish Royalty and World Heritage designation by Unesco

The Monastery of San Lorenzo de El Escorial raises in an exceptionally charming place in the Sierra de Guadarrama. It was built by King Philip II, a passionate religious man, in the late 16th century.
For its construction he had two major facts in consideration.
The most important reason was the solemn wish of his father, the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V (who reigned in Spain as King Charles I), for being honoured with a dignified mausoleum.
And he made the promise to consecrate a church to Saint Lawrence for the Spanish victory over France in the battle of Saint Quentin Saint Lawrence's Day in 1557.

The works for the monumental complex started on April 23rd 1563 and these were delegated to Juan Bautista de Toledo, the architect who raised the Basilica of St. Peter, however it was finished by the architect Juan de Herrera in 1584 in less than 21 years.
The result was a magnificent monument which reliably portrays the ideological and artistic narrative from the Spanish Catholic Monarchy of the Golden Age.

El Escorial is beyond being a monastery also a palace, a basilica, a pantheon, a school and a library. In its appearance it looks more like a fortress than a monastery.
Probably there is no other building which could better testimony the character of its creator.
In line with Philip’s II mystic personality, the palace in itself was a very severe and austere place, from which he dominated almost half of the world. Actually, subsequent monarchs embellished their personal apartments with more ornamentation, as well as created more apartments, as the Bourbon lineage did. However Philip II invested considerable funds on the decoration of the ecclesiastical buildings of the complex. The Pantheon of the kings, the burial site for the Spanish kings which lies beneath the Basilica, contains the last five centuries sovereigns’ remains and its walls are finished on Toledo marble magnificently decorated in gold-plated bronze.
All the complex site is decorated with major art works from the most renowned 16th century painters.

The Valley of the Fallen Monument

Civil Spanish War Memorial by Dictator Francisco Franco

The Valley of the Fallen monument  (el Valle de los Caídos) is located 9,5 km north from the Monastery of Saint Lawrence the Royal of El Escorial. The surface of the complex covers 13.6 km2 of Mediterranean woodlands and fieldstone of Sierra de Guadarrama and it is placed 910 meters above sea level. The memorial site comprehends a huge esplanade, a basilica, a Benedictine abbey, a guest house, the “Juanelos” (four cylindrical monoliths dating from the 16th century) and the world’s largest cross, which can be seen from 32 kms.
The impressive complex was ordered by the Spanish dictator Francisco Franco between 1940 and 1958, to bury and to commemorate the people who died on both sides during the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939). Although either Republican and Nationalist soldiers were buried there, the Valley of the Fallen is directly related with the Nationalist regime, since the late General and Antonio Primo de Rivera, the founder of the Falange movement are buried at the foot of the high altar of the basilica.

The project
Designed by the architects Pedro Muguruza and Diego Méndez, started in 1940 and took over eighteen years to be finished. The monument was officially inaugurated on April 1, 1959.

The Basilica
In 1960, Pope John XXIII declared the underground crypt a basilica. The entrance to the basilica is placed in the big esplanade that has a surface of 30,600 m² and it is carved out in the rock, comprising a 260 meters nave, with six chapels consecrated to the Virgin Mary and a 40 meters dome in diameter, decorated with a mosaic, created by the artist Santiago Padrós.

The Holy Cross
The colossal granite cross was built on the top of a rocky mountain. Its dimensions are 150 meters high and 48 meters width, in its arms. Four large sculptures (18 meters high), made by Juan de Ávalos, stand from the base of the cross, depicting the four Evangelists; Saint Luke with a bull; Saint John with an eagle; Saint Mark with a lion and Saint Matthew with an angel.

In the Valley of the Fallen lie 33,847 people who lost their lives during the Civil War.It is part of the Spanish Patrimony.

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