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El Escorial - Spain

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  • Daniel N. Washburn
    Here is a brief squibb on El Escorial and then two links with photos. Philip II built a monastry combined with a royal palace, a tomb and a garden. It was a
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 1, 2007
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      Here is a brief squibb on El Escorial and then two links with photos.

      Philip II built a monastry combined with a royal palace, a tomb and a
      garden. It was a memorial to his father, Charles V, a symbol of his
      piety and a fulfillment of a vow, made after God granted him a victory
      over the French at Saint-Quentin in 1557. Juan de Bautista and Juan de
      Herrara were the designers. Philip II was cold, scholarly, diligent and
      deeply religious. He ruled the world’s first empire 'on which the sun
      never set', mainly by writing letters in the privacy of his study. It
      embraced huge areas of Europe, the Americas and the South Pacific.
      Galleon-loads of South American gold were used to prosecute European
      wars and to carry out extensive building works. Renaissance
      palace-monasteries became a Spanish innovation. The inner courtyards of
      The Escorial have a dignified splendour, rich and formal. The Cloister
      of the Evangelists, named after its white marble statues of the
      apostles, is one of the largest garden courts in the world. The
      renaissance garden outside the immense palace, is often regarded by
      visitors as bleak and gloomy, like Philip II’s character. Granite, too,
      has this reputation. Philip loved flowers and his parterres were
      brightly planted, ‘like fine Turkish carpets brought from Cairo or
      Damascus’ [p 58, TT’s book]. Yet the parterres and arcaded courtyards of
      the Escorial, despite their resemblence to domestic features, are solemn
      and religious. Originally, they were planted with flowers. Today they
      are planted with box hedges. They are temple gardens. Herein lies their
      power. http://www.gardenvisit.com/ge/eles.htm

      http://www.pbase.com/ngruev/elescorial

      http://www.feelmadrid.com/elescorial.html

      Mighty impressive if somewhat bleak, isn't it? Loved the photo of the
      hedge gardens. Doesn't give me the feeling of being a sacred space, even
      if it is a monastery as well as a palace and tomb.

      Dan
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