Almudena Cathedral

Madrid, Spain

When the capital of Spain was transferred from Toledo to Madrid in 1561, the seat of the Church in Spain remained in Toledo and the new capital had no cathedral. Plans to build a cathedral in Madrid dedicated to the Virgin of Almudena were discussed as early as the 16th century but even though Spain built more than 40 cities in the new world during that century and plenty of cathedrals, the cost of expanding and keeping the Empire came first and the construction of Madrid's cathedral was postponed. Making the cathedral the largest that the world had ever seen was then a priority, all other main Spanish cities had centuries old cathedrals, Madrid also has old churches but the construction of Almudena only began in 1879.

The cathedral seems to have been built on the site of a medieval mosque that was destroyed in 1083 when Alfonso VI reconquered Madrid.

Francisco de Cubas, the Marquis of Cubas, designed and directed the construction in a Gothic revival style. Construction ceased completely during the Spanish Civil War, and the project was abandoned until 1950, when Fernando Chueca Goitia adapted the plans of de Cubas to a baroque exterior to match the grey and white façade of the Palacio Real, which stands directly opposite. The cathedral was not completed until 1993, when it was consecrated by Pope John Paul II. On May 22, 2004, the marriage of King Felipe VI, then crown prince, to Letizia Ortiz Rocasolano took place at the cathedral.

The Neo-Gothic interior is uniquely modern, with chapels and statues of contemporary artists, in heretogeneous styles, from historical revivals to 'pop-art' decor. The Blessed Sacrament Chapel features mosaic from known artist Fr. Marko Ivan Rupnik.

The Neo-Romanesque crypt houses a 16th-century image of the Virgen de la Almudena. Nearby along the Calle Mayor excavations have unearthed remains of Moorish and medieval city walls.

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Address

Calle Mayor 92, Madrid, Spain
See all sites in Madrid

Details

Founded: 1879
Category: Religious sites in Spain

Rating

4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Roger Allison (4 months ago)
Large cathedral, impressive inside, but not old. Free admission unlike most other major Spanish cathedrals. Worth a look.
Stephen Suley (5 months ago)
One of the top tourist tractions in Madrid. It’s located Central in the city and across from the Royal Palace. I would recommend a visit inside during the morning hours when there’s less people. I would also recommend a second visit to the outside in the Square adjacent to the church for sunset. This location is a ideal spot to take in the beautiful sunset and also fantastic for photos. When visiting Madrid this destination should definitely be on your list.
A Jones (5 months ago)
Beautiful modern ceilings and stained glass are unlike any other cathedral I’ve seen. I love this place!
Annie's Tour The explorer (6 months ago)
The most beautiful icon of Madrid. Don't miss visiting this place especially the dome of the Almudena.
Navina C (12 months ago)
It’s such a beautiful cathedral. The ceilings
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