The Royal Monastery of San Lorenzo del Escorial was declared World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1984. A general view of this monumental compound is depicted on the souvenir sheet by Spanish post with the stamp reproducing the commemorative coin on the Royal Monastery.
The construction of the Monastery of El Escorial was commissioned by King Philip II in order to build a mausoleum in memory of his parents and himself and in recognition of the victory at the Battle of Saint Quentin, which took place on the day of San Lorenzo in 1557. The choice of location was influenced by the proximity of the court, set in Madrid in 1561, and the abundance of water, woods, quarries and views. The King entrusted the regency of the monastery to the religious order of St. Jerome and the architectural works were entrusted to Juan Bautista de Toledo, who was appointed royal architect.
The architecture of El Escorial is of large rectangular proportions and it is structured in various rooms, among which are: the Patio de los Reyes, the Basilica, the Pantheon of the Kings, the Pantheon of the Infants, the Palace of the Bourbons, the Palace of the Hapsburgs, the Chapter House and the Library.
In the Pantheon of the Kings are kept the remains of kings and mothers of kings covered in marbles and bronzes. The remains of the other members of the Royal Family are kept in the Pantheon of the Infants.
El Palacio de los Austrias, where King Philip II lived until his death and from where he directed the politics of his extensive possessions, is built around the Presbytery of the Basilica. The royal bedroom is next to the altar with a window that allowed the king to follow mass in case of illness.
The interior of the Monastery of El Escorial is a veritable museum decorated with paintings, frescoes and sculptures of the most famous artists of the time and it has been enriched over the years by the subsequent kings.