Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
El Escorial is an immense palace, monastery, museum, and library complex located at San Lorenzo de El Escorial (also San Lorenzo del Escorial), a town 45 kilometres northwest of Madrid in the autonomous community of Madrid in Spain.
At the foot of the Sierra de Guadarrama mountain range, the complex was commanded by King Philip II of Spain as a necropolis for the Spanish monarchs and the seat of studies in aid of the Counter-Reformation. It was designed by the architects Juan Bautista de Toledo , Giambattista Castello , and Juan de Herrera in an austere classical style, and built from 1563 to 1584. It is shaped as a grid in memory of the martyrdom of Saint Lawrence. It is said that during the battle of Saint Quentin , the Spanish troops destroyed a small hermitage devoted to Lawrence. The King decided to dedicate the monastery to the saint in thanks for his victory.
The complex has an enormous store of art, including works by Titian, El Greco, Velázquez, Goya, and others. Also at the complex is a library containing thousands of priceless ancient manuscripts. It is the burial site for most Spanish kings since Philip II.
The surrounding town of San Lorenzo de El Escorial (Madrid) is also home for the popular summer courses of Universidad Complutense. A downhill neighbour town also named El Escorial has a likenamed RENFE station.
See also: List of World Heritage Sites in Spain
Near El Escorial there is the Monumento Nacional de Santa Cruz del Valle de los Caidos with the tallest memorial cross in the world.
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