This monumental complex was built a few years after the Civil War following the designs of Pedro Muguruza and Diego Méndez. The granite cross emerging from a large pine forest in the Cuelgamuros valley, not far from the town of San Lorenzo de El Escorial, is the most visible feature of the complex. The monument is decorated with sculptures by Juan de Ávalos.
The Basilica is carved into the rocky hillside. The dome that covers the crossing of the Basilica is decorated with a mosaic by Santiago Padrós. The Benedictine Abby stands behind the monument, on a broad esplanade.
33,847 people who died in the Civil War are buried in the Basilica crypts. The tomb of General Franco, Head of State between 1939 and 1975, also lies in the Basilica.