The Almudena Cathedral in Madrid is a magnificent cultural landmark of the Spanish capital and is loved by citizens and tourists alike.
History of Almudena Cathedral
Back in the 16th century, when Madrid became the capital of Spanish statehood, King Philip II had the idea of making the city the center of Catholicism in Spain, but to carry out this plan was not possible then.
The diocesan center until the end of the 19th century was the city of Toledo. And its Catholic authorities did not give Madrid the same status for political reasons, fearing a religious schism.
Madrid had not previously had a cathedral, but one day in the 80s of the 19th century, Pope Leo XIII issued a bull under which the diocese of Madrid was born, and she immediately needed her own pulpit.
A few years later permission came from Toledo, and at the behest of King Alfonso XII of Spain, the first stone of such a church was laid in Madrid. He also wanted to make a tomb in it for his wife, who had died prematurely of tuberculosis.
It is important to note that the Virgin Mary has always been the spiritual patroness and protector of Madrid, and the new temple was named after her when it was finally built at the end of the last century.
Interestingly, this cathedral is oriented south and north, not west and south, as with the new temple. It is believed that it is part of a single complex with the Royal Palace, is an integral part of it.
Construction of Almudena Cathedral
First, invited architects presented King Alfonso XII with a design for a new temple in the then fashionable Neo-Gothic style. In this case, the design of the tomb was made in the Neo-Romanesque style.
The construction of the temple was delayed for decades because of the extremely difficult political situation in Europe, and during the Spanish Civil War it was suspended until better times.
At the end of World War II, the Royal House of Spain decided to complete the Almudena Cathedral. The best Spanish architects of the time, Sidro and Goytia, were invited.
Construction was not completed until the early 1990s. Pope John Paul II himself consecrated the temple. The church was built in the Neoclassical style, and its magnificent dome in the New Baroque style.
And all the styles are organically mixed together. As a result, the cathedral looks majestic and beautiful. This gigantic building does not look bulky; it emphasizes the power of Catholicism. Its length – more than 100 m, height – more than 70 m.
The Catedral de Almudena became the youngest in the country and the only one consecrated by the Pope. There is a statue of Pope Leo XIII at the north gate of the temple. The cathedral stands in Madrid next to the Royal Palace, they are very similar in style.
It is decorated in the Neo-Gothic style and is designed with three naves in the shape of a Catholic cross. The builders used sandstone, limestone, and granite to build the temple.
The main church altar is made of marble quarried in Granada. On the altar above is a crucifix made in the 17th century in the late Baroque style. Next to the altar is an ancient 17th-century painting by Francisco Rizzi on a biblical theme.
The furniture in Almuden Cathedral was made of walnut in the 16th century for the old Church of St. John the Baptist. Carmen, and later brought here. The chapels of the temple are dedicated to the saints of Madrid. Many of them are unadorned.
The main decoration of the temple is a small statue of John the Baptist by Master Michel. It was created in the 18th century. There is also a 16th-century retablo by master Juan of Burgundy, a figurine of Our Lady of Almudena, etc.
Behind the altar are a casket with the relics of St. Isidore, works of art from the 18th century, and paintings and paintings from the same period by Juan de Avalos, Giaccomo Colombo, as is customary in the Catholic Church.
The Amulden Cathedral in Madrid is full of paintings, stained glass and statues, which can be admired for a long time as you walk around the interior of the church or walk around the outside. This is the most beautiful example of Catholic ecclesiastical architecture.
One of the most interesting events took place in Almudena Cathedral in the early 21st century: Prince Philip and Leticia Ortiz, the heir to the Spanish throne, who is now King and Queen of Spain, were married here.
Interesting facts about Almudena Cathedral
This cathedral is near the Royal Palace in Armory Square and is dedicated to the Holy Virgin Mary. It is one of the best architectural structures of modern Madrid, known for its exquisite beauty and grandeur.
In Old Arabic, “al-mudeina” means “citadel. According to legend, the statue of the Virgin Mary was found in the ruins of an Arab mosque that stood on the site of the present cathedral.
- Tourists are free to enter the cathedral and can spend hours wandering around looking at the beauty of this religious and architectural masterpiece.
- In order not to interfere with worshippers praying and participating in religious services, their place is fenced off from curious onlookers.
- At Almuden Cathedral it is customary to collect donations, but only voluntarily. A couple of euros or something like that.
- There is no dress code in the temple, you can come in any clothes within the limits of decency.
- You are allowed to take photos or videos for free here, and you can find many selfies of Almudena online.
- The cathedral is a fine example of modern church architecture and in a hundred years will become a monument. In the evenings there is a beautiful lighting.
- Like any Catholic church, there is an organ. Many people come here to listen to the majestic organ music.
What are the opening hours and how do I get to Almudena Cathedral?
The temple is open daily from 09-00 to 20-30.
The easiest way to get there is to take the subway, exit at the Opera station (line 2.5 of the subway), or take the city bus.
Almudena Cathedral on a map of Madrid