Valley of the fallen or Valle de los caídos

Welcome to the Valley of the Fallen in Madrid

Welcome to the Valley of the Fallen, a monumental complex located just 60km from Madrid, Spain. This impressive structure was built between 1940 and 1958 and holds great historical and symbolic significance. Not only is it a burial site for over 33,000 people from both sides of the civil war, but it was also constructed in part by the forced labor of political prisoners. Despite its controversial past, the Valley of the Fallen remains one of the most popular national attractions, offering visitors an opportunity to learn about Spain’s complex history and experience the beauty of this stunning monument. So come along and explore the fascinating history and culture of the Valley of the Fallen with us!


Embark on a captivating journey through time with the Valle Caídos, one of the most remarkable monuments in Madrid, Spain. Situated 60km from the capital city, this incredible complex is a true example of engineering and architecture. With its huge cross, basilica and sculptures, this site is a must-see for anyone visiting Madrid, regardless of whether you’re a history buff or just looking for a unique experience.

Unveil the story behind the Valle Caídos and witness its crucial role in Spanish history. Constructed between 1940 and 1958, this historic monument stands 150 meters high and its basilica is one of the largest in the world. Admire the spectacular mosaics, frescoes and sculptures while learning about the nation’s past and present.

Despite the controversy surrounding it, the Valle Caídos remains one of the most visited attractions in Spain, as it holds the remains of over 33,000 people from both sides of the civil war. Take the opportunity to explore this important symbol of reconciliation and peace, and enjoy the range of tours, activities and local experiences available to fully appreciate the Valle Caídos.


The story of the monument located in the depths of the valley is a complex and captivating one. Under the direction of the Spanish dictator, Francisco Franco, a massive project was launched in 1940 to commemorate those who sacrificed their lives in the Spanish Civil War. It took almost two decades to complete the building, and the area was chosen as the construction site due to the intensity of the battle that had taken place there. Today, the monument has become a powerful emblem of Spain’s turbulent past and a reminder of its people’s strength.

Constructing the valley was a massive task that required the efforts of thousands of workers, including many political prisoners who were forced to labor against their will. The environment was difficult and the job was perilous, yet they managed to keep going, driven by their sense of duty and an aim to honor the fallen. The valley stands proudly as a tribute to their dedication and the Spanish people’s indomitable spirit.

The Valley of the Fallen has been a source of debate over the years. Some view it as a meaningful representation of Spain’s history while others criticize it as a glorification of fascism and dictatorship. There have been demands to either demolish the monument or to convert it into a more neutral area. Despite these controversies, it still remains an important historical landmark and a reminder of the nation’s struggles and victories.

The Valley of the Fallen is a complex and multifaceted history, full of intriguing stories and remarkable characters. From the laborers who built the monument to the politicians who discussed its significance, the valley stands as a testament to the courage and determination of the Spanish people. Whether you are an enthusiastic historian or someone who simply wants to learn more about Spain’s past, the valley is an essential destination that will provide you with a unique insight into the country’s vibrant cultural heritage.

Opening Hours

Are you looking for an unforgettable experience in Madrid, Spain? Then, the Valley of the Fallen is a must-see destination. It’s important to know the opening hours of this monumental complex, so that you can plan your visit accordingly. The basilica is open from Tuesday to Sunday, from 10 am to 7 pm.

A visit to the Valley of the Fallen provides a unique and immersive experience. You’ll be able to witness the grandeur and beauty of the Catholic church’s architecture up close, taking your time to appreciate the intricate details of its design and the breathtaking surrounding landscape. Don’t forget to bring your camera to capture the beauty of this Spanish landmark.

During your visit, you can explore the complex at your own pace, taking in the sights and sounds of this historic monument. You can also choose to take a guided tour to learn more about its history and symbolic significance. With more than 33,000 people from both sides of the civil war remembered in the Valley of the Fallen, it’s an experience you won’t soon forget.

So, if you’re a history enthusiast, an architecture admirer, or simply looking for an enriching experience, don’t miss out on the opportunity to visit the Valley of the Fallen. Make sure to check the opening hours, plan your visit, and get ready to explore this Spanish landmark!

Historical and Symbolic Significance

Spanning an impressive 150 meters high, the towering base cross of this historical monument serves as an awe-inspiring reminder of Spain’s turbulent past. Constructed as a tribute to the lives lost during the Spanish Civil War, the Valley of the Fallen stands as a powerful symbol of peace and reconciliation, housing the remains of more than 33,000 people from both sides of the conflict.

A visit to this monumental site provides a unique opportunity to explore its many chapels, crypts, and galleries, and to take in the breathtaking view of the surrounding countryside. With two decades of work having gone into the construction of this remarkable monument, it serves as a testament to the human spirit’s resilience and capacity to overcome even the darkest moments in history.

For those interested in history, architecture, or simply seeking a unique experience, the Valley of the Fallen is an experience not to be missed. Its incredible symbolism and magnitude will surely leave a lasting impression on anyone who visits.

Burial of Civil War Victims

The monumental complex of the Valley of the Fallen holds an immense historical and symbolic significance in Spain. At this site, more than 33,000 victims of the Spanish Civil War have been laid to rest, serving as a reminder of the atrocities committed during this dark period. Nearby San Lorenzo, a small town impacted by the war, offers visitors an opportunity to gain further insight into this period in Spanish history.

The burial of victims at the basilica of the complex is a solemn commemoration of their sacrifice and the tragedy of war. This is a touching testament to the strength and courage of the Spanish people to overcome such a turbulent period. Paying respects to these individuals is a way of recognizing the devastating consequences of armed conflict.

It is important to note that the construction of the monument was partly carried out by political prisoners. This raises questions about the morality of the project and the treatment of prisoners during the regime of that time. Nevertheless, the complex stands as a significant historical site, providing an important reminder of the suffering inflicted by war and a call to preserve the memory of those who perished. By visiting the Valley of the Fallen and learning about the burial of the civil war victims, visitors to Madrid can gain a deeper understanding of this part of Spanish history.

Exhumation of Francisco Franco

In recent years, the relocation of the former dictator’s remains from the complex’s high altar has been a contentious issue. Under the direction of the Spanish government, Francisco Franco’s remains were removed from the Valley of the Fallen in October 2019 and relocated to a family crypt. This shift was seen as a significant move away from celebrating Franco’s authoritarian rule, to instead recognize the pain and suffering endured by those persecuted by his regime.

The decision to exhumate Franco was met with a mixed reception, with many Spaniards in favor of the initiative. For decades, the Valley of the Fallen had been a pilgrimage site for supporters who viewed the complex as a symbol of their leader’s power. Nevertheless, many viewed the exhumation as an opportunity for the Spanish government to make amends and heal the wounds of the past.

Executing the exhumation was not without its struggles. The Spanish government faced legal battles from Franco’s family, as well as the logistical challenge of coordinating multiple government agencies and constructing a new tomb. Despite these obstacles, the government stayed adamant in their decision, recognizing the importance of recognizing the victims of Franco’s regime and striving for a more democratic future.

Popularity and Local Experiences

A visit to the monumental complex of the Valley of the Fallen is an essential part of any journey to Madrid. This site, which has been a major tourist attraction in Spain for many years, is sure to amaze you with its stunning views, intricate history, and the burial of thousands from both sides of the Spanish Civil War. Madrid has a wide range of activities and tours that can help you explore the complex and discover its hidden gems.

The Valley of the Fallen is a truly remarkable place. Covering 3,000 acres, it features a remarkable 500-foot-tall cross that can be seen from miles away. The basilica, open from 10am-7pm Tuesday-Sunday, is also an impressive feat of engineering and architecture. The combination of natural beauty and man-made marvels makes this a fantastic destination for photographers. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to capture the buried valley in all its glory.

The Valley of the Fallen is also highly significant with regards to history and politics. It has been the subject of much discussion and debate due to its link with the Franco regime and the forced labour of political prisoners. In spite of this dark past, the site is now a symbol of peace and reconciliation. The Spanish government has taken steps to address the controversial aspects of the monument, and visitors can learn about the its importance to the nation’s past and present.

For an unforgettable experience of Madrid, make sure to add the Valley of the Fallen to your itinerary. There are plenty of local experiences and tours that can show you the best of the complex. You can take a guided tour, rent a bike to explore the area, or enjoy a relaxing picnic with your loved ones. Whatever your interests, you won’t be disappointed by this awe-inspiring destination.


In conclusion, the Valley of the Fallen is a fascinating and complex monument located in the heart of Madrid, Spain. From its controversial history to its immense symbolic significance, this monument remains a top attraction for visitors from around the world. Despite the controversy surrounding the exhumation of Francisco Franco’s remains, the Valley of the Fallen continues to draw crowds and inspire curiosity. So if you’re looking for a unique and thought-provoking experience in Madrid, be sure to add the Valley of the Fallen to your must-see list. Who knows, you might even learn something new and interesting along the way!

Valley of the fallen in our Spanish classes

I tell you everything about this and many other interesting topics in my classes, in Spanish, and adapted to your level. You understand, you learn, you will see. This is the class dedicated to a monument that I know very well. It is very close to my home in Spain. I grew seeing this huge Holly cross in the mountain.

Come to one of the classes to learn more.

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