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

4.5/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Chris Hall (17 months ago)
Beautiful place. Entrance for a 1 euro donation. Very cool and restful inside. Beautifully maintained. Crypt was also worth a visit. Lovely place to visit.
Robert Atkinson (18 months ago)
This is an odd building done in more than 1 style due to changes in owners and architects over time. This is right across from the Royal palace (a MUST SEE) so if you have time it's an interesting visit. If you see the palace, see the cathedral and the Criss the road again to see the original city walls. Lots of interesting history in these 3 locations
Anand Mahabir (18 months ago)
Beautiful cathedral in Madrid located opposite the Palace and a short walk from Plaza Mayor. The cathedrals interior is spectacular and very acoustically laid out, the organ is amazing. Well worth a visit when in Madrid.
Karine B (18 months ago)
It is an interesting young cathedral dedicated by Pope John Paul II. I have seen nicer cathedrals and Basilicas but it is right across the Royal Palace and easy to go to so I would at least take 30 min. to go inside and form your own opinion. I liked the different stained glass the most, followed by the interesting door where you can recognize the Pope himself.
Jack Daniels (19 months ago)
Piece of architectural art created as place of worship. This unbelievable place gives sense of quietness and spirituality. Enormous inner space of the cathedral plays incredible harmony with minimalistic religious decorations. Main gate to the cathedral is truly unique piece of art.
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