Almudena Cathedral is the cathedral of Madrid, Spain. Dating from the late 19th and 20th centuries, Almudena Cathedral is very new by European standards, and its traditional-meets-modern design reflects its youth.
History of Almudena Cathedral
The site on which Almudena Cathedral now stands was originally occupied by Madrid's first mosque, then by a church dedicated to one of Madrid's patron saints, Santa María de la Almudena.
Plans for a grand new church began in the 16th century after King Philip II made Madrid the capital of Spain. But construction was constantly postponed due to various political issues and opposition from the powerful archdiocese of Toledo.
Finally, in 1868, Madrid received permission from Toledo to construct a new church dedicated to the Virgin of Almudena. Construction began in 1883 based on a Neo-Gothic design. The first part to be completed was the crypt, which contains a 16th-century image of Madrid's patroness the Virgen de la Almudena.
A year later, in 1884, Pope Leo XIII created the Diocese of Madrid, giving Madrid a bishop and raising the status of the new Almudena church to a cathedral. The building plans were updated to reflect the elevated status of the building.
Construction on the cathedral progressed slowly and came to a complete halt during the civil war of the 1930s. The process began again in 1944, when the new architect introduced a Neoclassical style that would match the Royal Palace next door.
Almudena Cathedral was completed in 1993 and consecrated in person by Pope John Paul II that same year. A statue of the pope in front of the cathedral commemorates the momentous occasion. The cathedral was given another publicity boost with the sumptuous wedding of Prince Felipe and Doña Letizia in May 2004, the first such royal event in nearly a century.
What to See at Almudena Cathedral
The bright interior of Almudena Cathedral is based in the Gothic style, but modern and modest compared to most Spanish cathedrals. Its "pop art" stained glass windows were recently revealed to be copies.
Although lacking the architectural merit or historical significance of other European cathedrals, Almudena Cathedral is nonetheless worth a visit due to its uniqueness, its modern beauty, and its sheer size: it measures 104m long and 76m wide, with a central dome measuring 20m in diameter.
Quick Facts on Almudena Cathedral
|Names:||Almudena Cathedral · Madrid Cathedral|
|Styles:||Gothic Revival style; Neoclassical|
|Dedication:||Virgin Mary of Almudena|
|Visitor and Contact Information|
|Coordinates:||40.415579° N, 3.714591° W|
|Address:||Calle Bailén 8-10|
|Lodging:||View hotels near Almudena Cathedral|
- Personal visit (April 1, 2007)
- Frommer's Madrid, 1st ed.
Map of Almudena Cathedral
Below is a location map and aerial view of Almudena Cathedral. Using the buttons on the left (or the wheel on your mouse), you can zoom in for a closer look, or zoom out to get your bearings. To move around, click and drag the map with your mouse.