Madrid's most important cathedral is surprisingly modern and perhaps this is part of the reason why locals in general are not overly fond of it. Although its construction began in 1879, it was only finished in 1993, in a style that is meant to reflect that of the Royal Palace that sits in front of it. The cathedral is dedicated to the Virgin of Almudena, Madrid's patron saint, and it is open to the public free of charge.
The desire to have a Cathedral in Madrid was first shown in 1567 by King Felipe II who was responsible for bringing the court to Madrid in 1561 and making it the capital of Spain. The project was nipped in the bud shortly after due to influences from the Archdiocese of Toledo and it was not until 1738 that the then King Alfonso XII who would act as the principal advocate for the completion. Due to political conflicts, wars and a lack of financial resources, Madrid's cathedral took over 100 years to build. The neo-gothic cathedral as we know it today was finally completed in 1885, and was considered in its day the ideal Christian church.
According to legend, it's named after the Virgin de la Almudena, whose icon was found during the Reconquest hidden in a house that the Arabs called al mudena. The building's exterior is an example of eclectic 19th-century design. The doors are bronze and there's an image of Madrid's patron saint on the façade, the Virgin Mary. The interior is full of light, benefiting from the stained-glass windows and multi-colored ceiling. Its grand Grezing organ gets played on Sundays, holidays and the day before holidays. The cathedral was only just inaugurated as the Almudena Cathedral in 1993.
The Cathedrals full name is Santa Maria la Real de la Almundena but it is usually listed in guide books as Almundena Cathedral. Construction of the Church began in the 1800's but work was not completed until 1993 when the Cathedral was consecrated by John Paul ll. The design began in the Gothic Revivial Style but was changed to Neoclassical style to match the Royal Palace. I particularly liked the stunning blue facade complete with the Statue. The Cathedral is a stunningly beautiful building with a uniquely modern interior.
VT certainly is an educational experience for me when it comes to travelling! There I was, wandering around admiring the beauty of Almudena Cathedral, but I kept thinking that there was something different about it. Sure enough, I only found out later (while building these tips) that this cathedral is practically brand new - with construction only finally being completed in 1999!
It is a long story, starting with the fact that powerful religious leaders in the larger city of Toledo (which had its own cathedral) blocked King Philip II in 1561 when, after making Madrid the new capital of Spain, he requested permission to build a cathedral there. Fortunately, the delay only lasted 307 years until the authorities in Toledo finally granted permission (in 1868) to build a 'church' honouring Madrid's female patron saint, the Virgin Almudena.
Construction got underway in 1883 but, because Madrid became a diocese one year later, it was then elevated to the status of a cathedral. The expense of the endeavor, combined with the disruption of the Spanish Civil War in the 1930s as well as World War II, dragged its construction out until it was finally completed only ten years ago. It may have taken a few centuries, but I was quite impressed by the final product!
We enjoyed its exterior murals as well as a short walk around its interior, taking in the architecture and several Christmas nativity scenes.
This Neogothic Cathedral is located opposite to main entrance of Palacio Real ( Royal Palace). The building of this cathedral lasted above 100 years (1883-1993). Inside can you see the pictures from XVI century - Virgen de la Almudena and from XII century - Virgen de la Flor de Lis. The picture Virgen de la Almudena is renowned for many miracles.
Don`t miss the beautiful stained glass windows.
You can see the great panorama for La Almudena from the terrace in Parque Oreste.
Calle Mayor comes to an end in the front of the main temple of Madrid - Catedral de Nuestra Senora de la Almudena. It is near to the Royal palace. It was built more than hundred years. The beginning of construction happened in 1880, and the ending occured only in 1993. The initiator of the construction was Alfonso XII. He wished to bury his first wife Maria who esteemed Madonna Almudena in a temple. The temple was consecrated with daddy John Paul II. The sculptural image of the madonna is stored in the Cathedral.
It´s Madrid´s cathedral which took more than 100 years to complete (it is finished in 1993). The cathedral is 104 m long and 76 m wide. The central dome has a diametar od 20 m. The interior of the Almudena Cathedral is more modern and much more modest than that of its larger counterpart in Toledo. The cathedral is near Royal Palace.
Yes, Madrid does have a cathedral too! In my opinion is not a very impressive one, it has a very different style to the many oter wonderful cathedrals we have in Spain. However it's a nice view right next to the Royal Palace, and the views from the cathedral are also worth checking out.
If you have read already some of my other pages you would have noticed that I feel an ambivalent inclination about churches. I appreciate the usually impressive architecture and the serenity of its interiors, but I don't have any religious feeling whatsoever.
Said that, I must admit I'm not a big fan of Madrid's official Cathedral, "Nuestra señora de la Almudena". Maybe it has to do with the fact that its officially dates from the "ancient" date of 1993, even thought the construction was initiated in the XVII century...I don't know what the reason is, but I can't find any of the sensations that I feel in other big temples. Anyway, the sunset from there is simply lovely. You should not miss it!
The site where Almudena Cathedral is now standing, it was originally occupied by Madrid's first mosque. When Madrid became the capital city of Spain in the 16th century, King PhillipII wanted to build a grand church. His wishes did not come true till 1868. In 1883 construction of the new church based on Neo-Gothic design began and completed in 1993. The church was dedicated to the Virgin of Almudena.
Even though Almudena Cathedral historically and architecturally is not as famous as other Cathedral in Spain but it is the largest cathedral in Madrid.
Bus: 3, 39, or 148
Hours: Daily 10am-2pm and 5-9pm
The Almudena Cathedral is quite new. It was inaugurated only in 1993 after building it for more than a 100 years.
During my visit they had an exhibition of paintings and sculptures of the Holy Virgin.
Nuestra Señora de la Almudena (Our Lady of Almudena), the Cathedral, is a magnificent building situated at one of the nicest places in Madrid, in front of Palacio Real de Oriente (Royal Palace).
(More pictures in the travelogue)
Nuestra Señora de la Almudena, la Catedral, es un magnífico edificio situado en uno de los lugares más bellos de Madrid, frente al Palacio Real de Oriente.
(Más fotografías en el travelogue)
But it's good to be King, right? And when you have your own cathedral just a few steps across the courtyard from your living quarters here at the Palacio Real, well then, there could be no more excuses. Right?! No, there could be, and there would be, heck, convenience is nice but it's not EVerything.......;--P
Madrid's Cathedral is relatively modern, construction of the crypt started in 1883 and the building took over 100 years to construct. Construction was delayed because of the Spanish civil war and times of economic crises. In 1993 the Cathedral was finally consecrated.
It was called La Almudena after the Virgin of Almudena to whom it is dedicated. When the christians recaptured the area from the Moors, they found the icon of the virgin in a house called 'Al Mudena'.
We started our tour by entering the crypt, I dont think people would notice the doorway at the end of the cathedral.
I managed to capture this photograph of the base of a column, the early morning sunlight was falling through the stain glass window and the effect was interesting.
The crypt mostly has the burials of many of Spains more well known or richer folks from the last century. Some were quite new.