Royal Monastery of San Lorenzo de El Escorial
Avda. Don Juan de Borbón y Battemberg, s/n.
28200 San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Madrid (Madrid)
World Heritage, a certification granted by UNESCO.
National Heritage certification
Symbol of the Spanish Golden Age
The Monastery of El Escorial was the first example of the architectural style which came to be known as Herrerian after its creator, Juan de Herrera. It holds the designation of World Heritage site.
Philip II used this Royal Site for his family pantheon. Construction work began in 1563 under Juan de Toledo, and on his death was continued by Juan de Herrera, who completed the building in 1584. It is built in granite and divided into three areas. The central area is the Kings' Courtyard. There is a tower at each of its four corners measuring 55 metres, each crowned by a metal sphere. The compound includes the Ministries, Casa de los Oficios artisans' houses, the Compaña –where the company was quartered–, and the apartments of the Infantes and Queen, all connected via arches. The church is laid out in the shape of a Greek cross and there are funerary monuments to Charles V and Philip II in the main chapel. The library is also of particular interest. It is on the first floor of the west wing, and contains close to 45,000 documents from the 15th and 16th centuries. It was designated a Historic-Artistic site in 1971 and received the World Heritage designation in 1984. The building was designed by Juan de Herrera and gave rise to an architectural style known as Herrerian. It is a substantial construction, as can be seen from its 15 cloisters, 13 oratories, 86 staircases, 88 fountains, more than 1,600 paintings, nine towers and 73 sculptures.
- Construction: Monastery
- Artistic period: Renaissance
- Historic period: 16th century
- Setting: Church of San Bernabé (by Francisco de Mora), the Architecture Museum.
- From Apr 01 to Sep 30
From Tuesday to SundayFrom 10:00 to 20:00
- Closing days: Monday
- From Oct 01 to Mar 31
From Tuesday to SundayFrom 10:00 to 18:00
- Closing days: Monday
Ticket office open up to one hour before closing time for monument. Closed: 1 and 6 January, 1 May and 24, 25 and 31 December and days of official events announced on the National Heritage website.
- General: €10
- Reduced: €5
Admission free: under-5s, 18 May, 12 October, large families (when the tour is being taken by, at least, one adult and three of his or her children, or two if one of them is disabled), ICOM members, disabled people, teachers, unemployed people and from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday (October to March) and from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. (April to September) for European Union and Ibero-American citizens.