Valley of the Fallen in San Lorenzo de El Escorial
The Valley of the Fallen (El Valle de los Caídos, in Spanish) whose full name is Abbey of the Holy Cross of the Valley of the Fallen, is a monument built between 1940 and 1958 in the municipality of San Lorenzo de El Escorial, in Madrid.
The dictator Francisco Franco ordered its construction, and is buried there, along with Jose Antonio Primo de Rivera, founder of the Spanish Falange. Also buried there are over 30,000 combatants from both sides of the Civil War.
The Benedictine abbey lies near the basilica carved into the rock where the tombs of Franco, Primo de Rivera and eight chapels where soldiers are buried on both sides. The basilica stands on one of the highest Christian crosses in the world, measuring 150 meters high, visible from over 40 miles away.
The cross can be accessed at its base through the funicular. In the first basement at an elevation of 25m, are the sculptures of the four evangelists and their symbols: John and the Eagle, Lucas and the bull, Mark and the Lion, and Matthew and the Winged-Man made by Juan de Avalos. In the second basement at an elevation of 45m, the four cardinal virtues are represented: prudence, justice, fortitude and temperance.
In the plaza is the entrance to the crypt (or Basilica) of 262 meters. Over 200,000 cubic meters of rock was excavated for its construction.
In the monastery are located the files from about half of all of those whom are buried there. The other half is unknown, it is almost certain that the rest were collected from mass graves in Brunete, Grado, Gandesa, Tarragona, Badajoz or Teruel among others, after the Civil War until 1983.
Until several years ago, every November 20 (the date of the death of Jose Antonio Primo de Rivera and Francisco Franco), the Valley of the Fallen became a rallying point for fans of the Franco regime, and followers of Joseph Antonio Primo de Rivera.
Opening Hours Valley of the Fallen:
Closed on Monday
Ticket Price Valley of the Fallen:
All times and ticket prices are approximate. To confirm times and fares see the official sites.