Total Pageviews

Friday, November 16, 2012


Monasterio de San Lorenzo de El Escorial TIMELAPSE from Timelapses.es on Vimeo.

DAY TRIPS

el escorial

Located in the heart of the Sierra de Guadarrama (on the side of Mount Abantos), only 50 kilometres from Madrid, this is one of the most interesting towns in the area from a touristic and cultural point of view. Declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1984, the Monastery and Real Sitio de San Lorenzo of El Escorial is the soul of this mountain town, which attracts thousands of visitors every year.

Culture, history and nature

Although traces remain of previous inhabitants, the origins of the town of San Lorenzo de El Escorial can be dated back to the Reconquest of the 11th century, and the subsequent resettling of the central plateau. This small agricultural and cattle farming village remained isolated for centuries until 1561 when, with the establishment of the Royal Court in Madrid, Phillip II commissioned the construction of the Monastery of San Lorenzo de El Escorial on land he had recently purchased.
With the arrival of workers to build the cathedral, the remote village was transformed into a town, which brought about the establishment of traders and craftsmen, a rise in the population and the construction of a new town hall, a hospital and residences for visiting aristocrats. Two centuries later, Carlos III gave the royal stamp of approval to the new town and its architectural design, courtesy of Juan de Esteban and Juan de Villanueva.
At the beginning of the 19th century, with the French invasion of 1808, the Royal Court abandoned San Lorenzo de El Escorial as an official residence, and it fell into a period of decline. However, El Escorial recovered some of its commercial and cultural vigour in the middle of the century as a result of the building of a new railway network and the sale of the Crown lands, allowing the emerging bourgeois class to purchase land on which to build hotels and summer residences.
Alfonso XIII transformed the town into the nerve centre of the Eastern part of the province. Ever since, San Lorenzo de El Escorial has been one of the region's most important seats of learning, with the founding of the Universidad María Cristina, known today as the Real Centro Universitario El Escorial-María Cristina attached to the Universidad Complutense, and the colleges of la Inmaculada Concepción and las Carmelitas de la Caridad. These days, El Escorial is a reference point in the world of university education, and, since 1988, has been organising its prestigious Summer Courses, attended by thousands of Spanish and international students every year.

The Monastery

Deeply affected by the death of his father Carlos V in 1558, and with the aim of firmly establishing the House of Austria in Spain, Felipe II commissioned the building of the Monasterio de San Lorenzo de El Escorial as a means to create an eternal memorial for his relatives, ensure a family vault, and compensate for the destruction of a church dedicated to San Lorenzo in the Battle of San Quintin in France.
Under the guidance of Juan Bautista de Toledo, the first stone was laid on the 23rd of April 1563. Upon his death in 1567, Juan de Herrera took over the work, stamping his own style on the design, characterised by an emphasis on lines at the expense of decorative elements which may distract those contemplating the building.
With its 207-metre facade facing towards Mount Abantos, the building is rectangular in shape, measuring 33,000 metres squared in size and designed in the shape of an inverted grid. Visitors are greeted by the imposing principal façade leading to the Patio de los Reyes, which takes its name from the statues of the Kings of Judah adorning the façade of the basilica.
This is without a doubt one of the unmissable parts of any visit to the monastery. With a square floor plan and crowned by a dome which takes its inspiration from Saint Peters in the Vatican, it has a total of 43 altars and chancels. Particularly noteworthy are the Royal Oratories and the Royal Burials, two groups of kneeling statues corresponding to the families of Carlos V and Felipe II. Under the Royal Basilica lie the Royal Vaults, 26 black marble graves containing the remains of the Kings of the Houses of Austria and the Bourbons, and the Infant Vault, with the graves of the Queens who died without heirs to the throne, princes and princesses.
The Palace of the Hapsburgs, located behind the basilica, boasts an interesting Battle Room, which contains frescoes of some of the more significant battles won by the Spanish crown. The personal belongings of Felipe II and Princess Isabel Clara Eugenia can also be found here.
The Architecture Museum is located in the basement of the monastery and features reproductions of the architectural plans, the tools used and the budget, in addition to an art gallery containing works by El Greco, Zurbarán, Ribera, Tintoretto, Titian, Rubens and Veronese. No visit would be complete without a trip to the library, containing a copy of Cantigas de Santa María by Alfonso X The Wise, several works by Santa Teresa de Jesús, Mozarabic manuscripts, and the Códice Aureo, written in gold.

The Courtesan City

Aside from the monastery, although inseparable from it, the Casa de Oficios and the Casa de Infantes, located between the Monastery's façade and Calle Floridiblanca, are both well worth a visit, as are the King's Stables, built to keep the horses and carriages used by the Royal Family on their visits.
Also worthy of note is the Casita del Príncipe, built by Juan de Villanueva for the prince of Asturias - the future Carlos IV -, and the Casita del Infante, built for the brother of the future king, a small hunting pavilion in natural surroundings which served as a stage for chamber recitals and meetings of the court.
The Royal Coliseum of Carlos III, designed by the French architect Jaime Marquet, is another of the town's more significant buildings, and is today one of the region's most important cultural centres.
Moving away from the town's historic centre, in La Herreria, we find the Hermitage of the Virgen de Gracia, a small building in a natural pine setting, which is the stage of a popular gathering every year. Nearby, built upon a rock, lies the Seat of Felipe II, from which it is said the monarch supervised the progress in the construction of the monastery.
Only 8 kilometres from El Escorial, in the heart of the Sierra de Guadarrama, you will find the Benedictine Abbey of Santa Cruz del Valle de los Caídos. This colossal construction stands on an area of 36,000 metres squared, and comprises the abbey and other buildings such as the library or the inn, a crypt built into the rock, and an immense 150 metre high cross, which can be accessed via a hidden entrance. Inside lie the remains of Francisco Franco and José Antonio Primo de Rivera and, hidden from public view, the bodies of 40,000 soldiers who fell in the Civil war.

The following video gives us an insight of the Escorial with the music composed by Lecuona.



Evolution of Cultural Differences in the World.

When I recently visited Europe and some Mediterranean countries, some ideas which I had considered before became pounding real hard on me and I statarted questioning myself: Why was the progress in civilizations so different between continents?  So I started doing some research of my own on the theories which have been written in reference to such subject.  I found a great site in the internet, called The Edge, an organization which gathers scholars from the different disciplines who according to it has as a goal: To arrive at the edge of the world's knowledge, seek out the most complex and sophisticated minds, put them in a room together, and have them ask each other the questions they are asking themselves.
 Please go the link to initiate some of the discussions on the matter of how  the cultures of the world grew at different rates.
http://www.scoop.it/t/social-enterprise-social-investing/p/2642251965/how-culture-drove-human-evolution

We also have Jared Diamond's insight about this in the discussion : "Why did Human History Evolve Differently  in Different Continents in the Last 13,000 years?"

http://www.edge.org/3rd_culture/diamond/diamond_p1.html

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Lessons in Geography: Lecciones Sobre Geografía

LESSONS IN GEOGRAPHY

Acabo de recibir esta información que me mandó el amigo José Vilchez y lo publico porque creo que puede ser muy valioso para algunos lectores.  Por favor leer las notas que hacen los fotógrafos acerca de las tomas en cada lugar.
This information has been provided to me by my friend José Vilchez.  I think it could be of utmost importance for anybody that is interesed in finding beauty in our planet earth.  Please read the comments made by the authors of this panoramic photography.

As much as you have traveled you will like this...
LESSONS IN GEOGRAPHY
I HAVE NEVER SEEN ANYTHING LIKE THIS....YOU WOULD NEVER HAVE TO GET ON A PLANE AGAIN........ Mesmerizing!!! This is just fantastic.
Pick out any interesting location around the world and click on it. A page will come up with a photo. In the centre is a circle with a triangle.
Click on the triangle. Now you get a full picture. If it's not a full screen, click on the 4 dots in the lower right corner.
Now with full screen, place your curser anywhere on the screen and slowly drag the picture in any direction you want. Left, right, up, down, slow or stop.
Try the Egyptian Pyramids in Egypt or Moscow, Kremlin to get started.
This is a one e-mail you will want to save. Enjoy.
Panoramas and 3D Tours of the Most Beautiful Places Around the World! Click on the below City Names &Enjoy !

LECCIONES EN GEOGRAFÍA

Por mucho que hayas viajado te va a gustar esto ...

LECCIONES EN GEOGRAFÍA

Nunca he visto nada como esto .... USTED NUNCA TIENE QUE TENER EN UN AVIÓN DE NUEVO ........ Fascinante! Esto es simplemente fantástico.

Escoja cualquier lugar interesante en el mundo y haga clic en él. Una página aparecerá con una foto. En el centro hay un círculo con un triángulo.

Haga clic en el triángulo. Ahora se obtiene una imagen completa. Si no es una pantalla completa, haga clic en los 4 puntos en la esquina inferior derecha.

Ahora con pantalla completa, coloque el cursor en cualquier lugar de la pantalla y arrastre lentamente la imagen en cualquier dirección que desee. Izquierda, derecha, arriba, abajo,
disminuya la velocidad o detenerse.

Pruebe las pirámides de Egipto en Egipto o en Moscú, Kremlin para empezar.

Este es un correo electrónico que se desea guardar. Disfrute.

Panorámicas y Visitas en 3D de los lugares más hermosos de todo el mundo! Haga clic en los nombres de las ciudades por debajo y disfruta!

Victoria Falls, ZambiaVenezuela, Surroundings of Angel Falls, VenezuelaAngel falls, VenezuelaKalyan Minaret, Bukhara, UzbekistanMiami, USALas Vegas, USALake Powell, USAManhattan, New York, USAGolden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, USAMillennium UN Plaza Hotel, New York, USAOahu, Hawaii, USALas Vegas, Nevada, USAMillennium UN Plaza Hotel, New York, USAGolden Gate Bridge, USAStatue of Liberty, New York, USAManhattan, New York, USAHollywood, California, USASan Juan and Colorado rivers, USAGoosenecks, Utah, USAMono Lake, California, USAMillennium UN Plaza Hotel, New York, USAChicago, Illinois, USALos Angeles, California, USAKiev, UkraineAy-Petri, UkraineDubai, UAEDubai, Islands, UAEPalm Jumeirah, Dubai, UAEBangkok, ThailandSankt-Moritz, SwitzerlandCape Good Hope, South AfricaCape-Town, South AfricaMoscow, MSU, RussiaMoscow, Kremlin, Bolotnaya Square , RussiaMoscow, RussiaMoscow Kremlin, Russia55.748765;37.540841, RussiaMoscow City, RussiaKremlin, Moscow, RussiaMoscow City, RussiaTrinity Lavra of Sait Sergius, RussiaSaint-Petersburg, RussiaNew Jerusalem Monastery, RussiaSaint Petersburg, RussiaNovodevichy Convent. Moscow, RussiaRamenki,Moscow, RussiaMKAD, Moscow, RussiaMoscow, RussiaMoscow, RussiaKrokus Expo Center, Moscow, RussiaMoscow Region, RussiaMoeraki Boulders, New ZealandFiordland, New ZealandNepal, NepalMaldives, MaldivesKuala-Lumpur, MalaysiaGrimsvotn, IcelandAmsterdam, HollandNeuschwanstein Castle, GermanyEgyptian Pyramids, EgyptHong Kong, ChinaThe Iguassu Falls, BrazilTwelve Apostles Marine National Park, AustraliaSydney, AustraliaBuenos Aires, Argentina