Sharline Lebron

Sharline Lebron

Published: 20 Sep 2023

Source: Patrimonionacional.e

The Library of El Escorial, located in San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain, is not just your ordinary library. It is a world-renowned cultural institution, housing an extensive collection of priceless books, manuscripts, and art. This majestic library, situated within the grand complex of the Royal Site of San Lorenzo de El Escorial, holds a rich history and is a testament to the intellectual and artistic achievements of Spain.

In this article, we will delve into the fascinating world of the Library of El Escorial and uncover 18 intriguing facts about this iconic landmark. From its breathtaking architecture to its remarkable collection, we will discover why this library is considered a treasure trove of knowledge and a testament to the rich cultural heritage of Spain.

Table of Contents

The Library of El Escorial is located in Spain.

The Library of El Escorial, also known as the Real Biblioteca de El Escorial, is situated in the town of San Lorenzo de El Escorial, northwest of Madrid, Spain.

It was commissioned by King Philip II.

The library was commissioned by King Philip II of Spain in the 16th century. He wanted to create a grand library that would house his vast collection of books and manuscripts.

The library is part of the larger complex of the Monastery of El Escorial.

The Library of El Escorial is one of the highlights of the Monastery of El Escorial, which also includes a royal palace, a basilica, and a monastery. The complex was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1984.

The library has a stunning collection of over 40,000 books.

The Library of El Escorial boasts an impressive collection of over 40,000 books, including rare manuscripts, ancient texts, and historical documents. The collection spans various subjects such as theology, philosophy, history, and literature.

It is home to the Codex Vaticanus.

One of the most famous manuscripts in the library is the Codex Vaticanus, a Greek manuscript of the Bible dating back to the 4th century. It is considered one of the oldest and most complete copies of the New Testament.

The library has a copy of Miguel de Cervantes’ “Don Quixote”.

The Library of El Escorial is also home to a rare copy of Miguel de Cervantes’ iconic novel “Don Quixote.” Cervantes is considered one of the greatest writers in the Spanish language, and “Don Quixote” is his most famous work.

The library features beautiful architectural design.

The building that houses the library is a stunning example of Renaissance architecture. It features intricate frescoes, ornate ceilings, and beautiful woodwork, creating a visually captivating atmosphere for bibliophiles.

The library has a breathtaking reading room.

Visitors to the Library of El Escorial are treated to a magnificent reading room adorned with golden accents, elaborate chandeliers, and rows upon rows of antique bookshelves. The space exudes a sense of grandeur and scholarly ambiance.

The library houses a royal collection.

As a royal library, the collection in El Escorial is comprised of books collected by the Spanish royalty over several centuries. It serves as a testament to the intellectual pursuits and cultural heritage of the Spanish monarchy.

Guided tours are available for visitors.

Visitors to the Library of El Escorial can take part in guided tours that provide insight into the history, architecture, and significance of the library. These tours offer a deeper understanding of the treasures within its walls.

The library has a rare collection of illuminated manuscripts.

Among its extensive collection, the library houses a remarkable assortment of illuminated manuscripts. These intricately decorated texts offer a glimpse into the artistry and craftsmanship of earlier centuries.

The library’s collection includes works in multiple languages.

The Library of El Escorial features books and manuscripts in various languages, including Latin, Greek, Arabic, and Hebrew, showcasing the diverse range of historical and cultural influences on the Spanish monarchy.

It is a treasure trove of historical documents.

Within the library’s expansive collection, there are numerous historical documents that provide valuable insights into different periods and events in Spanish history. Scholars and researchers find great value in accessing these primary sources.

The library is a repository of knowledge.

With its vast collection and historical significance, the Library of El Escorial serves as an important repository of knowledge, preserving and promoting intellectual pursuits for future generations.

It is a place of academic study.

The library not only caters to researchers and scholars but also serves as a place of academic study for students and academics interested in exploring its diverse collections and resources.

The library has influenced architecture.

The architectural style of the Library of El Escorial has had a significant influence on subsequent library designs in Spain and around the world, inspiring the creation of similar grandiose reading rooms and elegant bookshelves.

The library holds cultural exhibitions.

Aside from its impressive collection of books, the Library of El Escorial hosts cultural exhibitions that highlight various facets of Spanish history, literature, and arts, further enriching the visitor experience.

The library offers digitized resources.

To cater to modern research needs, the Library of El Escorial has embarked on digitizing its collections, making selected resources available online for researchers and scholars to access from anywhere in the world.


The Library of El Escorial is a fascinating landmark that holds a wealth of history, culture, and knowledge. With its impressive architecture, extensive collection, and intriguing facts, it is a must-visit for any history enthusiast or book lover. From its role as a royal library to its unique organization system, the Library of El Escorial truly stands out as a remarkable destination.

Whether you are exploring the breathtaking halls, admiring the stunning artwork, or delving into the rich literary heritage, you will be captivated by the beauty and significance of this landmark. So, plan your visit to the Library of El Escorial and embark on a journey through history that will leave you with lasting memories and a newfound appreciation for the world of literature.


1. What is the Library of El Escorial?

The Library of El Escorial is a renowned library located in the Royal Monastery of San Lorenzo de El Escorial, near Madrid, Spain. It was originally established as a royal library in the 16th century and is now known for its vast collection of books, manuscripts, and art.

2. How many books are in the library?

The Library of El Escorial houses over 40,000 printed books, including ancient manuscripts, rare editions, and a wide range of subjects. It is known for its extensive collection of theology, philosophy, and history.

3. Can visitors explore the library?

Yes, visitors are allowed to explore the Library of El Escorial. However, access to certain areas may be restricted, and it is advisable to check the visiting hours and any specific requirements beforehand.

4. Is photography allowed inside the library?

Photography is not permitted inside the library to preserve the integrity of the valuable books and manuscripts. Visitors can, however, take photographs in designated areas of the monastery and surrounding grounds.

5. Are there guided tours available?

Yes, guided tours are available for visitors who want to learn more about the history and significance of the Library of El Escorial. These tours provide valuable insights and ensure a more enriching experience.

6. Can I access the digital collection of the library?

Yes, the Library of El Escorial has a digital collection that can be accessed online. This allows users to explore a wide range of digitized materials, including manuscripts, maps, and rare books.

7. Does the library host any special events or exhibitions?

Yes, the Library of El Escorial occasionally hosts special events, exhibitions, and lectures. These events showcase different aspects of the library’s collection and offer unique opportunities to learn and engage with its rich heritage.

8. Is there a fee to visit the library?

There may be a nominal fee to visit the Library of El Escorial and the Royal Monastery complex. However, specific details regarding fees and ticketing can be obtained from the official website or the visitor information desk.