The architectural complex of El Escorial combines the monastery, palace and residence of the King Philip II of Spain. It is located at the foot of the Sierra de Guadarrama mountains and is an hour’s drive from Madrid. The construction of El Escorial began in 1563 and continued for 21 years under the guidance of the chief architect Juan Bautista de Toledo, after whose death, his work was completed by Juan de Herrera. During the tour we will visit the majestic palace, the interior of which has an impressive luxury and splendor that can not be said about the royal apartments, which are decorated quite modestly. Here is a great collection of works by Spanish and European artists. Important role in the construction of the Escorial is the Pantheon, built by Philip II for his father Charles V, whose remains were moved here in 1586. Here were also buried the remains of all the kings of Spain since Charles V and the Queens, who gave birth to male heirs. The beautiful library holds the world’s largest collection of Arabic manuscripts, as well as the unique manuscript of St. Augustine, Alfonso the Wise and St. Teresa.
Not far from the Escorial is a monument to the modern history of Spain – Valley of the Fallen. Valley of the Fallen, is a monumental complex in Spain, it was built as a monument to the fallen in the civil war. The construction started in 1940 as conceived by Spanish dictator F. Franco and was completed in 1958. The official opening of the complex took place on 1st of April 1959. All the elements of the memorial are impressive with their giant size: the grandiose square is surrounded by arcades, the Basilica, which is carved into the rock, the Holy Cross, 150 meters high, a huge monolithic columns of granite, the sculptures of the four apostles-evangelists and sculpture, which embodies the essential Christian virtues. The grand memorial holds the remains of the 33872 nameless fighters and has only two registered burials, one of Francisco Franco and other of Jose Antonio Primo de Rivera.