Day Trip to El Escorial

El Escorial is Spain’s royal monastery, and it’s divided into 4 parts: The monastery, the school, the palace, and the cathedral. It was constructed based on the descriptions of Solomon’s temple. It also has a library containing thousands of books, with some as old as the 8th century!! Students and scholars can actually read & use the ORIGINAL books for their projects or research (in a very special room, but still)! Here’s the library:

El Escorial library

It also has a huge underground network that houses the tombs of dozens of kings and queens of Spain from the past 5 centuries, along with many members of the royal families. In order for a queen to be buried there, she had to be the mother of a king. So even if you were the wife of the king of Spain, if your son didn’t become king, then you couldn’t be buried there. The circular room they’re buried in (called the Pantheon of the Kings) is GORGEOUS, and directly beneath the Cathedral’s main altar. Once again, like the royal palace, I was not allowed to take pictures inside. Sadness. But here’s a picture of the cathedral’s altar I found online:

In any case, I found out something pretty gruesome. The room and coffins are already made, so that means the kings and queens who die have to fit into those pre-made coffins. So, what they do is: after a king or queen who will be buried there dies, they are put in a special “rotting chamber” in El Escorial called a pudridero, and they’re left there for about 40 years. After that time passes, they’re just bones. Then the bones are placed inside the coffin. The current king’s parents are both in a rotting room, and they are going to take the final two slots available in the special burial room (26 total). That means the current king (Juan Carlos I) has to pick another place to be buried, since El Escorial ran out of space.

But yeah, it was absolutely awe-inspiring, and I really wish I could’ve taken a picture to show you all! But here’s one I found online (none of the pictures in this post do the real thing justice, but just to give you an idea):Pantheon of the Kings

2 thoughts on “Day Trip to El Escorial

  1. hi there! we were planning to visit the Escorial this coming sept. but got discourage bec.
    they don’t allow tourists to take fotos of its interior anymore.
    does this still apply? or you need another fee for that? thankx.

    • Hello! Unfortunately, the rule still applies that tourists are not allowed to take photos inside El Escorial. This is because they used to allow tourists to take photos without flash, but so many people disregarded the rule and used flash anyways that they decided to ban all picture-taking.
      That being said, El Escorial is still highly impressive and absolutely gorgeous, so despite not being able to take photos, I loved my visit and highly recommend it.

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