The Royal Site of San Lorenzo de El Escorial is a historical residence of the King of Spain in the town of San Lorenzo de El Escorial, not so far from the capital. It is one of the Spanish royal sites and functions as a monastery, pantheon, basilica, royal palace, university, library, museum and hospital.
The Escorial comprises two architectural complexes, La Granjilla de la Fresneda (about five kilometres away) and the royal monastery itself. It is an architectural manifestation of the power of the Spanish monarchy and the ecclesiastical predominance of the Catholic religion in Spain. El Escorial was a monastery and a Spanish royal palace. It is now a monastery of the Order of Saint Augustine and it’s also a boarding school. It was originally a property of the Hieronymite monks. Philip II King of Spain engaged the Spanish architect, Juan Bautista de Toledo, to design El Escorial with him. Philip appointed him architect-royal and together they designed El Escorial as a monument to Spain's role as a center of the Christian world.
UNESCO declared The Royal Seat of San Lorenzo of El Escorial a World HerItage Site on 2 November 1984. More than 500,000 visitors come to El Escorial every year, it is a very popular tourist attraction.