UNESCO World Heritage Sites near Madrid

In the UNESCO World Heritage Convention is described that the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Sites are places of importance to cultural or natural heritage. In May 1982 Spain accepted the convention and its historical sites had been included in the list. There are more than 40 historical sites in Spain, 3 of them are located near the capital of Spain - Madrid and are undoubtedly worth visiting if you’re going to this magnificent city.

Monastery and Site of the Escorial

San Lorenzo de El Escorial is the town well-known for being the location of Spain’s largest monastery. El Escorial is one of several Spanish royal sites. It was designed by King Philip II and architect Juan Bautista de Toledo. The grounds now contain a museum, basilica, library, and living area and are full of gilt-bronze sculptures and art from masters like Titian and Tintoretto. El Greco’s work, “The Martyrdom of St. Maurice” is housed in the Chapter House and the remains of Phillip II and his parents, Charles V and the Empress Isabel of Portugal, are entombed on the grounds.

University and Historic Precinct of Alcalá de Henares

Founded by Cardinal Cisneros the University of Alcalá is the first deliberately designed university city in the world, being a model to other European universities. The city is the birthplace of Miguel de Cervantes, known for his contributions to the Spanish language and literature. The house where Cervantes was born is located next to the hospital where his father worked. It now houses a free museum. In front of it there is a statue of Don Quijote and Sancho Panza sitting on a bench. The museum usually enjoys lots of visitors and groups of schoolchildren. The University is a major landmark and the pride of the city!

Aranjuez Cultural Landscape

The landscape around the Royal Palace of the city Aranjuez was designed by the Spanish royal family containing innovative ideas. It is located between the Rivers Tajo and Jarama, the gardens near the Royal Palace are huge and stunning. Even the Spanish composer Joaquín Rodrigo was so inspired by their beauty that he wrote the Concierto de Aranjuez, a composition for classical guitar and orchestra. His work takes the listener through the various sounds of gardens.

UNESCO website says: “It represents the coming together of diverse cultural influences to create a cultural landscape that had a formative influence on further developments in this field. Aranjuez has been witness to various cultural exchanges over a span of time, in a specific cultural area, that has had a tremendous influence in the development of its landmarks and the creation of its landscape.”

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