Almudena Cathedral, despite being the largest church in the city and the seat of the archdiocese, the structure is new relative to its counterpart having been completed only in 1993. It derived its name from an Arabic word ‘almudaina’ which means citadel.
The church is believed to have been constructed in a point where a painting of the Virgin appeared when Madrid was regained by Christians in 1085.
This religious attraction- located at the southern part of Madrid, near the Royal Place and at the corner of Calle Bailen and Cuesta de la Vega- can be reached either by way of Metro Station Opera (Lines 2, 5 and the shuttle from Principe Pio) or through bus lines.
Although consecrated only in 1993 by Pope John Paul II, the construction of the Almudena Cathedral actually started as early as 1883. Lack of funds and support from the local government are what impeded the completion of the building.
As already mentioned, the place is where a painting of the Virgin appeared in the 11 the vey point the Christians made into a fortress to defend the city of Toledo from incursions from the north.
The structure is believed to be the heir of the old Saint Mary’s Church. This is located then near the present site of the cathedral but was later demolished to pave the way for the construction of the Calle Bailen in the late 19 courtyard.
As a result of long period of construction, the church is a mixture of different architectural styles. Started by architect Francisco de Cubas who adopted a Neo- Gothic style, the architectural design later shifted to Neo- Romanesque with Enrique Maria Repulles y Vargas at the helm. The finishing details were crafted by Frenando Chueca Goitia and Carlos Isidro following the Neo- Classical pattern (similarly to that of the Royal Palace).
Proofs of the said similarity are the white and gray stones prevalent in the structure. These came from nearby building like Colmenar de Oreja and Novelda (Alicante). Opposite to the more dominant Neo- Classical design of the church is the Neo- gothic style evident inside the place.
The Almudena Cathedral has been an integral part of Madrilenian’s community life. Notable events performed therein include the 2004 marriage of the princes of the country- the first to do so from the royal lineage (not until then, the Jeronimos Church is the place of royal marriage). The current king, Juan Carlos I, got married in Greece in 1962.
Another astonishing feature of the church is it having a blister of blood of Pope John Paul II, brought from Vatican six year after the pope’s death in 2005. Also, the arch where the remains of Saint Isidro, the Farmer were laid is situated here. According to a legend, the coffin was re- opened and the corpse remains undeteriorated. The actual body of the saint is in the San Isidro Church.