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Photographer's Note

Being a history buff, for me the monastery palace of the Escorial was a must-see on our Spanish trip, even though we'd already visited it a long, long time ago.

The Escorial is a symbol of Spanish power politics, especially of Filips II, the ultra religious king who played a most decisive role in the break-up of the Netherlands in the 16th century. One of the biggest paintings inside the building shows my native city Antwerp with the huge Spanish fortress (citadel) attached to it, like an ulcer, to "protect" the inhabitants of the city from political and religious independence.

Filips II built this monastory and palace as a massive shrine, a monument to his reclusive glory. Most Spanish royals are buried here, including Filips' father, the Emperor Charles V. In my imagination Charles, who most certainly would abhor the place, haunts the endless vaults and hallways of the Escorial!

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EL ESCORIAL (the Royal Site of San Lorenzo de El Escorial) is a historical residence of the King of Spain located some 40 kilometres northwest of the Spanish capital Madrid. Built between 1563 and 1584 by order of King Philip II (who reigned 1556–1598), El Escorial is the largest Renaissance building in the world. It functions as a monastery, basilica, royal palace, pantheon, library, museum, university, school, and hospital.

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alternative view in WS

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Additional Photos by Benny Verbercht (BennyV) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3045 W: 35 N: 6707] (34746)
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