Friday, October 16, 2009

San Lorenzo de El Escorial

San Lorenzo: Monasterio & King Philip II's palace

Today I went on a tour of lots of tombs. First, at San Lorenzo, a monastery, we saw tombs of lots of kings, queens, and their families. There were like seven or eight rooms just for the tombs. This is gross, but before someone can be placed in the king/queen tomb room, they have to decompose for thirty to forty years in another room nearby. We didn't see the room, but I would imagine that it smells really bad. The decoration on the tombs was great - it was marble, and beautiful, but not over the top with intricate detail. We weren't allowed to take pictures of the tombs. This picture is the outside of the Monastery of San Lorenzo.

Dad - King Philip II had gout! It's "gota" (pronounced goh-tah) in Spanish. He also ate lots of red meat. He had this special chair to stretch out his leg so it would hurt less. I guess it was comfortable, but it sort of looked like a torture device. Wouldn't match our decor. I learned the word gota a few weeks ago at my internship when they thought someone had it.

The library in the King Philip II's palace was unusual. All the books were backwards - the binding was next to the shelf. All you could see was shelves filled with gold edged pages. They had section numbers so you could still find the books without reading the binding. The guide explained to us that they did this because they thought it would be better for the future conservation of the books. Again, no pictures were allowed.

El Escorial:

El Escorial is build into a mountain, so the view is pretty scenic. The tombs at El Escorial were totally different than the ones at San Lorenzo. El Escorial has Francisco Franco's tomb, the dictator, and José Antonio's tomb, leader of the Falange (sp?). The architecture is the opposite of beautiful. We were told that this architecture is "Facist architecture" because it had a dark, creepy, imposing feel. The lighting was very dim and the tomb was enormous. It sort of felt like walking through a stereotypical dungeon, but with a gift shop. The purpose of the structure is to show power and control, and it definitely does. No pictures allowed inside, but I took some outside. This is a picture of the tiny part of Franco's tomb that is visible from outside the mountain.

Overall, I loved the tours today. It was fascinating to see the different tombs. Loved the library with the backwards, gold books!


  1. Sounds like a really cool day! Love your descriptions:) Can't wait to see the rest of the photos when I get home:)
    Is it easier to post photos to the blog with the external hard drive?

    Love, Mom

  2. Franco's tomb is not El Escorial. El Escorial is the monastery and palace we saw in San Lorenzo.