The Monastery of El Escorial was the first example of the architectural style which came to be known as Herrerian after its creator, Juan de Herrera. It holds the designation of World Heritage site. Philip II used this Royal Site for his family pantheon. Construction work began in 1563 under Juan de Toledo, and on his death was continued by Juan de Herrera, who completed the building in 1584. It is built in granite and divided into three areas. The Central area is the Kings’ Courtyard.
There is a tower at each of its four corners measuring 55 metres, each crowned by a metal sphere. The building’s premises include the Ministries, Casa de los Oficios (Artisans’ Houses), Compana (Company Quarters), Infantes and Reina rooms, all connected via arches. The church is laid out in the shape of a Greek cross and the funerary monuments to Charles V and Philip II can be seen in the main chapel. The library is also of particular interest. It is on the second floor of the west wing, and contains close to 45,000 documents from the 15th and 16th centuries.
It was designated a Historic-Artistic site in 1971 and received the World Heritage designation in 1984. The building was designed by Juan de Herrera and gave rise to an architectural style known as Herrerian. It is a large construction, as can be seen from its 15 cloisters, 13 oratories, 86 staircases, 88 fountains, more than 1,600 paintings, 9 towers and 73 sculptures.