The town of El Escorial is located about 45 km from Madrid. It is the former holiday residence of the King of Spain. Philip II was building this impressive monument in 1559 as a Monastery, School and as well as his Holiday Palace where he went to pray and to be close to God.
The building is designed that in the inside (heart) you find the Basilic Church. The palace is located at the southern end and designed that there is a view to the altar in the church from the bedroom of Philip II.
The building is enormous – and had to give shelter to the whole administration and ministers that have been accompanying the King. As there was not enough room in the main building, they built additional buildings alongside the Monastery. The soldiers actually lived away in the town of San Lorenzo El Escorial.
The town itself is worth a visit as well if you are traveling Spain. There are many small restaurants and terraces where you find typical local food. Its surrounding invites for day-hikes through the forests surrounding the village. One of the more famous sightseeing points is the Seat of Philip II which offers great views to the Monastery.
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