The Escorial is a vast building located in San Lorenzo de El Escorial, near Madrid, in central Spain. The building is the most important architectural monument of the Spanish Renaissance. Construction of El Escorial began in 1563 and ended in 1584. The project was conceived by King Philip II, who wanted a building to serve the multiple purposes of a burial place for his father, Holy Roman emperor Charles V; a Hieronymite monastery; and a palace.
The first architect, Juan Bautista de Toledo, designed the ground plan on a gridiron scheme, recalling the grill on which San Lorenzo, the patron of the building, was martyred. After Juan Bautista de Toledo´s death, Juan de Herrera took up work on the project.
The Valley of the Fallen is one of the national monuments that most controversy unleashes in the population. It was built at the end of the civil war in 1939 - 1940 by the dictator Francisco Franco in honor of the fallen of the nationalist side. Its cross is 150 meters high and between the walls of its basilica, a part of the recent history of Spain resides.