Laura in Spain

Laura is a sophomore majoring in political science and Spanish in Dedman College. In Spring 2009, she will be taking courses toward her Spanish major in Spain at the Fundacion Jose Ortega y Gasset, while being immersed in Spanish culture.

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Final resting places

We took a day trip to visit two important places in Spanish history.

lb-El-Escorial-300.jpgEl Escorial

First, we visited El Escorial (left), which was ordered to be built by Phillip II. His underlying purpose was to have a building where he could have a house for God, a palace for a king, and a burial place for his father. As a result, El Escorial has served many of his wishes and continues to be in use today. It contains a monastery, basilica, palace, burial ground, and a library.

My favorite sight was the burial place of all the recent kings and queens of Spain because it is not your typical form of burial. It was a bit eerie at first but it was a magnificent sight as their coffins were lavishly adorned with gold and marble. The rest of the graveyard with other people who were of the Spanish royal family also had very luxurious tomb stones.

lb-Valle-de-los-Caidos-400.jpg
Valle de los Caidos

Our second stop was Valle de los Caidos, which is an important part of Spain’s recent history and can be seen from a very far distance through a tall cross. Franco ordered this monument to be built in memory of all of those who had died during the Spanish civil war in 1939. This monument is considered controversial to some Spanish citizens because it was built by prisoners of war of Franco’s opposing side. It is also Franco’s burial ground.

As you enter the church and walk toward the altar, Franco’s tomb stone might seem modest because if there weren’t any cords around it, one would easily walk over it. We must remember, though, that in fact the entire monument is considered his resting place and a magnificent one at that.

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