Carretera de Guadarrama, Spain: The Basilica of the Valley of the Fallen
History of the Basilica of the Valley of the Fallen:
This enormous, underground Basilica, has controversial roots that begin with the Spanish Civil War of the 1930’s. In 1940, Franco commissioned the Valley of the Fallen, supposedly to honor the fallen in that war. Throughout Spain there are anonymous mass graves estimated to hold over 100,000 victims of the war.
However, most believe it was actually designed as a memorial to Franco himself, since the vast majority of those buried here are Nationalists rather than Republicans and Franco himself is buried here. The Basilica was not finished until 1959, at which time more than 11,000 people were buried here.
Many object to Franco being entombed here, as his brutal regime was responsible for so many innocent deaths. In September, 2019, Spain’s Supreme Court ruled that Franco be transferred out of the Valley of the Fallen and interred in the Mingorrubio municipal cemetery at El Pardo just outside of Madrid, where his wife Carmen Polo is buried.
About the Basilica of the Fallen:
Despite its controversial history, the Basilica is physically impressive. The Basilica is underground, with an immense cross on the hill outside.
To further the spiritual growth of the Shrine, some 20 monks from Santo Domingo de Silos arrived in 1958 to establish a new Benedictine community here. They have a guest house that can hold 220 people, along with a restaurant, bar-café and 8 assembly rooms.
Facilities also include: a laundry and ironing service, vending machines for snacks and drinks, a lift, telephones in some of the rooms, a public telephone, the sale of books and monastic liquors, a chapel and free covered parking.
Traveling to the Basilica of the Fallen:
The Basilica is Northwest of Madrid. There is no train service, so bus will be the only option for public transportation. There are many buses per day from Madrid. The station is a short distance away in San Lorenzo el Escorial.
Address: Carretera de Guadarrama / El Escorial. 28209 San Lorenzo del Escorial. Madrid. Spain
GPS coordinates: 40° 25′ 0.39” N, 3° 42′ 13.644” W
Tel (Basilica): (+34) 91-890-54-11 Fax: (+34) 91-890-55-94
Tel (Hostelry): (+34) 91-890-55-11 Escolanía: (+34) 91-890-38-05
e-mail: [email protected]
Click here for the official website of the Basilica of the Valley of the Fallen. (in Spanish)