Santa María la Real de La Almudena is a Catholic cathedral in Madrid.
When the capital of Spain was transferred from Toledo to Madrid in 1561, the seat of the Church in Spain remained in Toledo; so the new capital – unusually for a Catholic country – had no cathedral. Plans were discussed as early as the 16th century to build a cathedral in Madrid dedicated to the Virgin of Almudena, but construction did not begin until 1879. The cathedral seems to have been built on the site of a medieval mosque that was destroyed in 1085 when Alfonso VI conquered Madrid.
Francisco de Cubas, the Marquis of Cubas, designed and directed the construction in a Gothic revival style. Construction ceased completely during the Spanish Civil War, and the project was abandoned until 1950, when Fernando Chueca Goitia adapted the plans of de Cubas to a baroque exterior to match the grey and white façade of the Palacio Real, which stands directly opposite. The cathedral was not completed until 1993, when it was consecrated by Pope John Paul II. On May 22, 2004, the marriage of Felipe, Prince of Asturias to Letizia Ortiz Rocasolano (known thereafter as Letizia, Princess of Asturias) took place at the cathedral. The Neo-Gothic interior is uniquely modern, with chapels and statues of contemporary artists, in heretogeneous styles, from historical revivals to “pop-art” decor.
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