November 2018 - Madrid Spain
*WARNING* photo heavy!!!
We entered and paid the fee to go to the museum and tower before going to the church.
Madrid's cathedral, which stands in Hapsburg Madrid, has a short but tortuous history. The first plans for the church were drawn up in 1879 by Francisco de Cubas, who wanted to create a pantheon for the late Queen Maria de la Mercedes. The foundation stone was laid in 1883, but when Pope Leo XIII granted a bull in 1885 for the creation of the Madrid-Alcalá bishopric, the plans for the church were changed to become plans for a cathedral.
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 to build 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 in the new world during that century and plenty of cathedrals, 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, Madrid also has old churches but the construction of Almudena only began in 1879.
The cathedral seems to have been built on the site of a medieval mosque that was destroyed in 1083 when Alfonso VI reconquered Madrid.
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 mosaic from known artist Fr. Marko Ivan Rupnik.
This gold plated altarpiece was exquisitely made up of 18 boards that depict Christ’s life. You could climb the stairs to get a closer view of the altar and tabernacle.
The cathedral was only consecrated in 1993 by Pope John Paul II.