Almudena Cathedral

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Cathedral of Saint Mary the Royal of La Almudena
Catedral de Santa María La Real de La Almudena
Almudena Cathedral (2).jpg
The Almudena Cathedral viewed from north
AffiliationRoman Catholic Church
ProvinceArchdiocese of Madrid
Ecclesiastical or organizational statusActive
PatronVirgin of Almudena
Year consecrated15 June 1993
LocationMadrid, Spain
Almudena Cathedral is located in Madrid
Almudena Cathedral
Location of the Cathedral in Madrid
Geographic coordinates40°24′56″N 3°42′52″W / 40.415586°N 3.714558°W / 40.415586; -3.714558Coordinates: 40°24′56″N 3°42′52″W / 40.415586°N 3.714558°W / 40.415586; -3.714558
Architect(s)Marquis of Cubas
Fernando Chueca
StyleNeoclassical, Neo-Gothic, Neo-Romanesque
GroundbreakingApril 4, 1883
CompletedJune 15, 1993
Length102 m
Width (nave)12.5 m
MaterialsGranite of Colmenar Viejo and marble from Novelda
Website of the Cathedral
Consecration of the Cathedral in 1993 by Pope John Paul II

Almudena Cathedral (Santa María la Real de La Almudena) is a Catholic church in Madrid, Spain. It is the seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Madrid. The cathedral was consecrated by Pope John Paul II in 1993.


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 for 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 overseas during that century, plenty of cathedrals and fortresses, 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 and Madrid had its own old churches, but the construction of Almudena only began in 1879.

The cathedral seems to have been built on the site of a mediaeval mosque that was destroyed in 1083 when Alfonso VI reconquered Madrid.[1]

Francisco de Cubas, the Marquis of Cubas, designed and directed the construction in a Gothic revival style. Construction was interrupted by the Spanish Civil War, and the site lay abandoned until 1950, when Fernando Chueca Goitia [es] adapted the plans of de Cubas to a baroque exterior to match the grey and white façade of the Palacio Real that stands directly opposite.

The cathedral was completed in 1993, when it was consecrated by Pope John Paul II. On 22 May 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 heterogeneous styles, from historical revivals to "pop-art" decor. The Blessed Sacrament Chapel features mosaics by Fr. Marko Ivan Rupnik. The icons in the apse were painted by Kiko Argüello, artist and founder of the Neocatechumenal Way.

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.

Notable burials[edit]

People buried at Almudena Cathedral include:


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "El Madrid islámico". Retrieved 2013-10-14.

External links[edit]

Media related to Almudena Cathedral at Wikimedia Commons