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On the hottest day of the year 1557, the day of Saint Lawrence, king Phillip II launched a final attack on the French city of Saint Quintin. It was such a crucial battle for the Spanish Empire, that the king made a promise to saint Lawrence: if he won, he would build in his honor the biggest Monastery of Christianity. And it seems that Saint Lawrence did his part, because the king defeated his biggest enemy, the king of France.
But it took a few years for the king to make up his mind. When he did, he chose this magnificent spot on the mountains near Madrid. The result is a grilled shaped royal complex, or Real Sitio de San Lorenzo del Escorial. King Phillip had his parents buried here, Emperor Charles V, most kings and queens of Spain have been brought here too. This means that the complex includes a Royal Palace, a Monastery and the Royal Mausoleum.
This monument expreses the most glorious period of the Spanish Empire and some of its most obscure mysteries. Nothing in it is left to chance and everything has a meaning in Phillip’s great design. The king’s reserved nature, immense power and miriad of intellectual interests, gave origin to many stories, some based on facts, some on legends.
While we stroll, we will travel in time and discern facts from legends of El Escorial (note that it’s not allowed to film inside). We start at the little town’s square of the ancient theatre. Then walk down Grimaldi street, and explore the magnificent esplanade of the Royal Sitio, La Lonja, to discuss the building itself. Then go into one of its cloisters and visit the Royal Gardens. To finish looking at the great view that Phillip enjoyed till the end of his days.
It’s fascinating, come walk with me!
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