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The Escorial: The Dream of a Devout Monarch

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Kultur Video

It was to be a bulwark of the faith, a symbol of the greatness and power of the Spanish world empire. In a manner virtually unparalleled by any other building, the Escorial reflects the spirit of it's age, the 16th century, and of it's patron, Philipp II. Philipp II, driven by a blind faith in the Catholic Church and the burning desire to emulate his father, Charles V, had the Escorial built in a bleak, deserted landscape. From this remote vantage point he wanted to rule the world. The architecture is a perfect reflection of this spirit, externally an austere building almost entirely without ornamentation. It is, moreover, no coincidence that the building is reminiscent of a cloister; part of which is still used today as a monastery. And it was from this fortified cloister that Philipp sought the solution to one of the most intractable problems of his time - the schism in the church. He resorted to the means of the Inquisition. The building, and it's whole style, exudes the relentlessness with which Philipp exerted his power.

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