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Almudena Cathedral


118 reviews of Almudena Cathedral

The perfect complement

Highly criticized and reviled, the Cathedral of Santa Maria la Real de la Almudena (Saint Maria the Royal) is the perfect complement to the Palacio de Oriente (Royal Palace of Madrid). They are found right next door to each other. The final design included a series of arches on each side that would unite it with the Royal Palace with the Cathedral, creating a majestic, unified “Palace-Cathedral” structure, but this was never fully carried out, as the two buildings remain separate.

The true secret of the cathedral is found in its crypt, with the magnificent 19th century “neo-traditional” chapels decorated with stain glass, mosaics, altarpieces, etc., worthy of being considered obligatory sights in any tourist visit to the cathedral. We can list the Chapel of the Marquis of Urquijo or the medieval image of the Virgin de la Flor de lis as highlights, although I’d encourage you to visit the cathedral and find out what you like best about it.

The Cathedral’s entrance lies at the beginning of Calle Mayor. It is closed to the public during mass. I would recommend going during the afternoon so you can see the sunlight enter through the stain glass windows. The mixture of colors is incredible. A quick anecdote, the driving force behind the cathedral was Maria de las Mercedes but, upon her death, it was her husband who continued on with the project. Although Maria wasn’t the mother of any king, she was buried in the mausoleum of the monastery of El Escorial as a special exception due the high regard the town held for her.
See meninha's photos
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The difficult creation of the cathedral

Believe it or not, Madrid did not have a cathedral officially until 1993 when the Almudena Cathedral was consecrated by Pope John Paul II. This temple has been jinxed since the beginning.

At the time of Felipe II, they already planned to build a cathedral for the villa and the court, but the monarch was more interested in finishing the construction of the Monastery of El Escorial, for which he discarded this project. At the same time, there was a power struggle in the Toledo archdiocese. They did not want Madrid to have its own archdiocese.

The building was postponed until the time of Felipe IV, who together with his wife Isabel de Borbón, gave a new push to finish the old project, even donating a piece of land for it. But new problems emerged and again everything was put aside and forgotten.

However, with the death of Queen María de las Mercedes, who could not be buried in El Escorial because she was not the mother of a king, they thought of the long awaited cathedral in the capital as a final resting point.

Finally, in 1880, construction on the cathedral started in front of the royal palace, but they soon realized the magnificent project of a neo-Gothic church on a Romanesque crypt could not be carried out. So the years passed by with renovations and the building of the cathedral never finished. By now, you can understand how complicated they cathedral’s history really is.

A special event was expected for the inauguration of the temple, and we all thought it would be the wedding of the Prince of Asturias (heir to the throne) and Letizia Ortiz. Unfortunately, just a month before the inauguration, Madrid suffered the worst terrorist attack in its history, and the funeral of the victims was celebrated in the cathedral.
See Gonzalo Moreno's photos
9 photos

Even better at night

I’m from Madrid and I’ve been going to the part of the Almudena Cathedral that overlooks the hill behind the Royal Palace. Each time I think the same thing: “blah, this isn’t anything special; not even really worth visiting.”

However, last week, everything changed. Due to the World Youth Day processions, I discovered a side of the Cathedral that I had never seen before. It’s the part that looks upon the Royal Palace (the most beautiful in all of Europe, of course).

A few days later, I decided to visit it more closely and, as my title states, it getters better at night, much, much better. The view is beautiful and as it was August, a month with few tourists, you can make this grand terrace seem like the patio of your very own house.
Gonzalo Moreno
See Carmen Quereda Merino's photos
72 photos

Too modern

It is the cathedral of Madrid. To me it is not the most beautiful I have visited, it is too "modern" to be a cathedral. The Princes of Spain got married there and it is located in front of the Royal Palace.

You can take pictures inside of the temple and go up the vault (I have not been there yet), they say the views from there are spectacular.
Carmen Quereda Merino
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See Víctor Gómez - machbel's photos
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The cathedral of madrid

Next to the Royal Palace, there is the white Cathedral of Madrid, of neogothic, neo-Romanesque and neoclassical style. From the outside it is nothing special, with many smooth walls and few decoration.

From the inside it is a little more interesting, since during sunny days it looks as if the cathedral shines from the inside for being so white and having some color windows making beautiful effects.

Apart from being the temple where the wedding of Prince Felipe was celebrated, and being the Cathedral of Madrid, to me it does not have a great aesthetic interest, so if you do not have time you can skip the visit.
Víctor Gómez - machbel
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Information about Almudena Cathedral

Almudena Cathedral Phone Number
+34 915 422 200
+34 915 422 200
Almudena Cathedral Address
Calle Mayor, 90, 28013 Madrid, España
Calle Mayor, 90, 28013 Madrid, España
Almudena Cathedral Opening Hours
mon 9:30 - 20:30
tue 9:30 - 20:30
wed 9:30 - 20:30
thu 9:30 - 20:30
fri 9:30 - 20:30
sat 9:30 - 20:30
sun 9:30 - 20:30
Almudena Cathedral Website
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