Travel Reference
In-Depth Information
40. Valley of the Fallen, El Escorial
After theSpanishcivilwar , the Francoregime decidedtobuildamonumentdevotedtothose
who had died during the conflict. They chose the design of a basilica in the architectural
style known at the time as neo-herrerian ,” characterized by its grandiosity. The works took
18 years to be completed, and part of the workers were Spanish Republican prisoners who
saw their prison time reduced in exchange for their labor.
The basilica, located at the Guadarrama mountain range, near Madrid, is one of the most
remarkable Spanish constructions of the 20th Century, with features designed to impress -
such as the 500 foot high granite cross, the tallest in the world. Another important piece of
art is the Piety , by Juan de Ávalos , a statue depicting the Virgin and Jesus, also made of
granite and impressive for its size and artistic quality.
The basilica, excavated from the stone of the mountain, rivals in size with that of St. Peter in
the Vatican. Its interior decoration is an interesting example of art-deco used in a religious
building. The complex also hosts a Benedictine abbey and hostelry, as well as a cemetery,
where about 34,000 dead from the civil war are buried.
Francisco Franco is buried there, and his tomb is found inside the basilica. This is one of the
most visited monuments in Spain.
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