The Escorial ("Real Sitio de San Lorenzo de El Escorial" i.e. Royal Seat of San Lorenzo de El Escorial) is a residence of the Spanish kings and a monastery. It is located in the small town of San Lorenzo de El Escorial,about 45km northwest of Madrid at the foot of the Sierra de Guadarrama mountains. El Escorial was built between 1563 and 1584 under the reign of king Philip II of Spain, based on a design by Juan Bautista de Toledo. It consists of the large basilica of San Lorenzo el Real, and a number of wings used for the king's apartments, a library, a college, a refectory and other purposes. The Escorial has a quite austere layout, probably an expression of the religious fervour of the era. It has the shape of rectangle sized 224m by 153m. El Escorial is a popular tourist destination, about 45 minutes by car from Madrid, and receives more than 500000 visitors per year. It has been a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1984.

01 El Escorial palace 02 El Escorial palace 03 El Escorial palace 04 El Escorial palace 05 Roof detail
06 Front view of El Escorial 07 Front view of El Escorial 08 Front view of El Escorial
09 Open space in front of El Escorial 10 Buildings on Juan de Borbon street 11 Escorial gardens 12 Escorial gardens
13 Tangerine tree 14 San Lorenzo church with cupola 15 Escorial gardens 16 Rear view of El Escorial 17 Tower
18 Escorial gardens 19 Escorial gardens 20 Northern view of El Escorial 21 Refectory facade
01 Patio de los Reyes inner court 02 Basilica San Lorenzo el Real 03 Statues on facade of San Lorenzo Basilica 04 Gate to Patio de los Reyes 05 Colonnade
06 Patio de los Reyes inner court 07 Patio de los Reyes inner court 08 Manuscript library 09 Patio de los Reyes inner court 10 Colonnade
11 Colonnade 12 Colonnade 01 San Lorenzo de El Escorial 02 Staircase 03 Public square
04 Cafe 05 Cafe 06 San Lorenzo el Real basilica 07 Meadows and trees
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