Tag Archives: King Phillip II Spain

Travels in Spain, El Escorial

“It stands in the foothills of the Guadarrama Mountains with woods and snows behind its back, and the vast plateau of Castile stretching away to Madrid before it.  It is rectangular and enormous and implacably severe, unrelieved by any softness of foliage or decoration.” – Jan Morris

The Palace at El Escorial was built by King Philip II, who, reacting to the Protestant Reformation sweeping through Europe during the sixteenth century, devoted much of his lengthy forty-two reign and much of his seemingly inexhaustible supply of New World gold to stemming the Protestant tide.

He ran his Spanish seaborne Empire which stretched from the Netherlands and southern Italy to North Africa, Latin America and the Philippines from his headquarters at El Escorial which was designed as a monument to celebrate Spain’s role as a centre of the Catholic Christian world.

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