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, "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 general Francisco Franco to honour and bury those who fell fighting for his "Glorious Crusade", during the Spanish Civil War.
The Valley of the Fallen, as a surviving monument of Franco's rule, and its Catholic basilica remain controversial, in part since 10% of the construction workforce consisted of convicts, some of whom were Spanish Republican political prisoners.
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 memory." Together with the Universidad Laboral de Gijón, it is the most prominent example of the original Spanish Neo-Herrerian style, which was intended to form part of a revival of Juan de Herrera's architecture, exemplified by the royal residence El Escorial.
This uniquely Spanish architecture was widely used in public buildings of post-war Spain and is rooted in international classicism as exemplified by Albert Speer or Mussolini's Esposizione Universale Roma.
The monument precinct covers over 3,360 acres (13.6 km) of Mediterranean woodlands and granite boulders on the Sierra de Guadarrama hills, more than 3,000 feet (910 m) above sea level and includes a basilica, a Benedictine abbey, a guest house, the Valley, and the Juanelos — four cylindrical monoliths dating from the 16th century.
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The most prominent feature of the monument is the towering 150-metre-high (500 ft) cross erected over a granite outcrop 150 meters over the basilica esplanade and visible from over 20 miles (32 km) away.