The greater of Royal Churches and the most important Christian building in the city: the Cathedral of Almudena
Despite being a city of remote origins, Madrid will not impress you with its ancient monuments, many of which have been destroyed over the centuries. The city’s Cathedral of Almudena, dedicated to the Virgin and built in the 19th century occupies the place of the mosque of the ancient Mayrit, the original nucleus of the city founded by the Arabs in the mid-9th century.
The Cathedral of Almudena was built in 1883 in neo-Gothic style at the behest of King Alfonso XII, but it was consecrated only in 1993. The cathedral is part of the Royal Palace complex, towards which its main facade faces.
Almudena’s Cathedral impresses with its grandeur, but what is worth a visit is the neo-Romanesque crypt. Here you will find over 400 columns supporting the cathedral and you can admire the unique panel painting of the Nuestra Señora de la Flor de Lis. According to the legend, the panel was commissioned in the 11th century by King Alfonso VI to replace the disappeared image of the Virgin of Almudena. According to some historians the work goes back to the 13th century, but in any case it is one of the first examples of wood painting in the history of Spanish art. Undoubtedly the most striking work inside the Cathedral is the splendid retable by Juan de Burgundy, dated between 15th and 16th century, which is located above the altar of the Virgin,.
If you have time, it can be interesting to climb the dome of the Cathedral: from there you can enjoy a beautiful 360 ° view of the city.
Times and costs of the Cathedral of Almudena
The Cathedral can be visited for free every day from 9 to 20.30, while the Crypt is open from 10 to 20.
The Cathedral Museum and the climb to the dome cost 6 euros and can be visited from Monday to Saturday from 10 to 14.30.