English Français

The Monastery of San Lorenzo de El Escorial and Natural Surroundings

Date of Submission: 26/06/1998
Criteria: (iii)(iv)
Category: Cultural
Submitted by:
Ministerio de Asuntos Exteriores
Coordinates: Sierra de Guadarrama Mountain range (Mt. Abantos)
Ref.: 1026
Word File

The Secretariat of the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the World Heritage Centre do not represent or endorse the accuracy or reliability of any advice, opinion, statement or other information or documentation provided by the States Parties to the World Heritage Convention to the Secretariat of UNESCO or to the World Heritage Centre.

The publication of any such advice, opinion, statement or other information documentation on the World Heritage Centre’s website and/or on working documents also does not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Secretariat of UNESCO or of the World Heritage Centre concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its boundaries.

Property names are listed in the language in which they have been submitted by the State Party


A territorial system linked to the Palace-Monastery of San Lorenzo, founded by King Philip II in 1563 and designed by the architects Juan Bautista de Toledo (1563-1657) and Juan de Herrera (1567-1586). The enclosure's wall, most of which remains standing, dates from the 16th century and was intended to preserve the environs of the Royal Estate. Within this enclosure are found the following buildings:

1. Main building comprising the Palace, Monastery, Pantheon and College of San Lorenzo; the adjacent buildings --pharmacy, hospital, passage to convent (1586), first workshops (1587¬1589), second workshops (1593-1596), slate house, first house of the Infantes (1770-1776), third workshops (1785), promenade, orchards and gardens with their fences and gates, large pool, snow storage pits, etc.)

Comunidad de Madrid

2. Auxiliary buildings for serving and supplying the main complex: walls with gates and boundary stones, bridges, aqueducts, dams, snow storage pits, mills, quarries, etc.

3. 16th C. estates complementary to the main complex, either as landscapes such as La Herreria and the Huerta del Castanar, or as parks for the enjoyment of their owners, such as La Fresneda, El Campillo, and Monesterio.

4. The town centre of La Villa de El Escorial. Outstanding buildings include the Church of San Bernabe, built by Francisco de Mora in 1593-1595, and the Monasterio del Prestado, which served as the residence of the Community of Friars of St. Jerome and of King Philip II during the construction of the Monastery of San Lorenzo.

5. The town centre of San Lorenzo, adjacent to the Monastery complex, and laid out by the architect Juan Esteban in 1767. In '1781 it was redesigned by the architect Juan de Villanueva, who also designed many Royal and private buildings, setting the style for the city's architecture. Noteworthy among the latter are the Casa de los Doctores (already erected by Juan de Herrera in 1583-1585), the Cuartel de Invalidos (1774), the Coliseo Real theatre, the Parador (inn), the Second House of the Infantes (1792-1802), and numerous lodges built in the local style.

6. 18th C. recreational lodges complementary to the main complex, such as the Casita de Abajo (also known as the Casita del Principe), and the Casita de Arriba (a.k.a. Casita del Infante), with their surrounding parks and gardens.

This historic site is part of a larger territorial system comprising access roads to the royal Estates, with their communication and transportation infrastructures, bridges and civil works, as well as the immense extensions of farmland donated by the successive Spanish monarchs to the Monastery for its economic sustenance, such as the estates of El Quexigal, Navaluenga, Piul, Aldehuela, Gbzquez, Santisteban, San Saturnino, Espadanal, etc., situated in nearby municipalities.