Now, Who's Your Daddy?
Photoshoot Lamborghini Murciélago LP670-4 SV
11-14 March 2011, Madrid, Spain
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The Valle de los Caídos (in English: Valley of the Fallen) is a Catholic basilica and a monumental memorial in the municipality of San Lorenzo de El Escorial, erected at Cuelgamuros Valley in the Sierra de Guadarrama, near Madrid, conceived by Spanish dictator Francisco Franco to honor and bury those who fell during the Spanish Civil War. It was also claimed by Franco that the monument was meant to be a "national act of atonement".
The monument, a landmark of 20th-century Spanish architecture, was designed by Pedro Muguruza and Diego Méndez on a scale to equal, according to Franco, "the grandeur of the monuments of old, which defy time and forgetfulness". Together with the Universidad Laboral de Gijón, it is the most prominent example of the original Spanish Neo-Herrerian style, which was intended as a revival of Juan de Herrera's late renaissance architecture, exemplified in El Escorial. This uniquely Spanish architecture was widely used in public buildings of post-war Spain and is rooted in International classicism exemplified by Albert Speer or Mussolini's Esposizione Universale Roma.
The monument precinct encloses over 3,360 acres (13.6 km2) of Mediterranean woodlands and granite boulders on the Sierra de Guadarrama hills, over 3,000 feet (910 m) over sea level where stand the Basilica, the Benedictine Abbey, the Hospedería, the Valley and the ‘Juanelos,’ four cylindrical monoliths dating from the 16th century. The most prominent feature of the monument is the towering 150-meter-high (500 ft) cross erected over a granite outcrop 150 meters over the basilica esplanade and visible from over 20 miles (32 km) away.
Work started in 1940 and took over eighteen years to complete, the monument being officially inaugurated on April 1, 1958. According to the official ledger, the cost of the construction totalled 1.159 billion pesetas, funded through National Lottery draws and donations.
As a surviving artifact of Franco's rule, the monument and its Catholic basilica remain controversial, particularly because 10% of the construction workforce were convicts, some of them Popular Front prisoners.