A brief history
Today’s cathedral in Madrid is very new as it was only consecrated in 1993. And it has a curious history.
Toledo was the capital of Spain until 1561 and of course had a cathedral. In that year the capital moved to Madrid but the priority at the time was to expand the Empire. Incredibly work on a cathedral for the city only started in 1879.
A Medieaval mosque stood on the site of the cathedral but it was destroyed in 1083. A small section of Arab walls still remain in the square below the Crypt.
The Civl War in the 1930s interrupted building work (which was very slow) which only restarted in the 1950s. The original plans for the main body of the cathedral were to create a Gothic building. But by now that was believed to be inappropriate. The plans changed to match the exterior of the cathedral to the exterior of the Royal Palace standing opposite the Cathedral.
Finally, over a century since planning started, the new cathedral and its crypt were consecrated.
Santa María la Real de la Amudena
Almudena is a feminine word which means ‘the city of Madrid’. So this long name for the cathedral just means it is named after the Virgin Mary and it is in Madrid.
Photography is not allowed inside the cathedral and so I have included a photo from a super blogsite: do visit www.tapasinthesun.com. I found the cathedral very stark and lacking in atmosphere – a strange building.
The Crypt opened in 1911, long before the cathedral was completed. It is in Gothic style and quite different to the main body of the building. I like the crypt, which seemed to have more atmosphere and felt more like part of a religious building. I enjoyed wandering around this quiet space.
The Cathedral in Madrid is a must-visit but I did not particularly enjoy the building. Perhaps it is one of the those sites which grow on you as you revisit.
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