Wednesday, July 9, 2008

The Fam in Madrid Pt. II (Flashback)

So I totally forgot about a whole day (June 21st) in Madrid. Before we headed to Seville, we went to the Valley of the Fallen, which is about 30-45 minutes outside of Madrid. It's a monument to the soldiers who died in the Spanish Civil War, which ended in 1939. It's also where General Franco (the dictator who took over after the Civil War) is buried. The outside is quite impressive itself - it's huge and grandiose, and the entire thing is carved out of the side of a mountain. At the top of the monument (and the mountain) is a 500 foot cross, the largest monumental cross in the world (it was ginormous). The plaza leading up to the entrance is also huge, so after what seemed like a 20 minute walk just to get to the front door, we got inside. The ginormousness continued.

The inside of the structure is actually larger than St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City, but in order to avoid competition, the church made them separate part of the structure with a wall as an entrance, and the Pope only blessed part of it. So "technically," the structure isn't the largest Roman Catholic building. I will never understand the pettiness and politics involved with such things, but that's enough about that. It was still cool. We were supposed to take pictures, but I figured after traveling for an hour to get there, and to provide an educational experience for others, I snapped a few. Hope you enjoy!


View of the monument from the (huge) plaza.

A poorly-composited photo of the entire width of the monument.

Jesus and Mary above the main entrance to the monument.

The disciples on the door at the main entrance.

There were these big, tough-lookin' angels on either side as you entered the main basilica. They were pretty sweet.

View of the main basilica.

The main altar.

Shot of the cupola - the tile work was pretty awesome.

A closer shot of the front of the monument.

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