The weather in San Lorenzo de El Escorial is cold and does not meet our expectations at all. So we decide to visit the interior of the palace and monastery complex.
Royal Site of San Lorenzo de El Escorial
The Royal Site of San Lorenzo de El Escorial, commonly known as El Escorial, was commissioned on 10 August 1557 by Philip II of Spain, after he had defeated King Henry II in the Battle of Saint-Quentin. The result is the largest Renaissance castle in the world. It is located 45 km northeast of Madrid.
Hall of Battles
The most famous hall of this complex is the Hall of Battles. It is 55 m long and 7 m high. The walls are adorned with gigantic tapestries, representing the most famous battles of the Spanish kings. The ceilings are painted with spectacular frescos.
On the front line, the monumental basilica has two towers with a height of 72 m and over the nave, a dome of 90 m height.
Right, and left of the main altar are the tombs of Philip II, Charles V, and their families. In front of these, you see them presented as larger-than-life person groups.
The library contains 40,000 volumes and a Florentine planetarium that shows the movement of the planets according to the Ptolemaic and Copernican systems.
In addition, the library has magnificent ceiling frescoes.
Pantheon of the Kings
In a crypt is the Pantheon of the Kings, with walls and 26 sepulchers made of black Toledo marble, containing the remains kings and queen. Almost all reigning Spanish kings and queens are buried here. It seems to be a little bizarre, that before the remains are buried here, they decay over a period of 50 years in the adjoining Pudridero. This room is not accessible. Furthermore, you can visit the Pantheon of the Infantes, the burial place for 100 Infantes.
The palace houses a collection of paintings by Titian, El Greco, Albrecht Dürer, Hieronymus Bosch and many others. The private rooms of the monarch are equipped rather scantily. When Philip II became frail, his bedroom has been moved nearer to the high altar, so that he could look through a window to the altar and follow the holy mass. Unfortunately, it is not possible to film here.
The complex also includes a monastery and various administrative departments. The Royal Site of San Lorenzo de El Escorial has been listed on the UNESCO world heritage list since 1984.
When we leave El Escorial, we see a thin layer of snow on the surrounding hills. Something, what we did not expect at all. One year ago to the day, we were in Sevilla and had a temperature of 41 ° C in the shade!
Meson 5 Bellotas
So we decide to go to a warmer place to get something to eat and drink. In Meson 5 Bellotas, a typical Spanish tapas bar, with a friendly host, our wishes come true.
At the table next to us, men are playing a typical Spanish card game, called MUS. One of the participants had already won a championship.
The next morning, the sun is shining again and the main square immediately fills with residents, exchanging news, and children playing.
The Gardens of the Friars
With beautiful weather, we visit the palace gardens that are famous for their colonnades and geometrical plant arrangements. The so-called Gardens of the Friars were commissioned by Philip II, as a place of peace and meditation.
The flowering trees convince us that spring is in the air. The panoramic view is fantastic. However, next to the Quatro Torres of Madrid, a thick column of smoke can be seen in the distance. As we learn later, it was an illegal tire dump on fire. The fire could not be extinguished for 3 days.
On the way to the station, we go to a nearby viewpoint “La Silla de Felipe II”- the seat of Philip II. From here on has a beautiful view of San Lorenzo de El Escorial and the Royal Site.
During our visit, we stayed at the Hotel De Martin only 200 m away from the Royal Site of San Lorenzo de El Escorial.
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