Almudena Cathedral in Madrid took over 100 years to be built. It was finally consecrated by Pope John Paul II in 1993. Shortly after King Philip II assigned Madrid the capital of Spain in the year of 1561, he wanted to build a cathedral for the new capital. Because of political turmoil and strong opposition from the Archdiocese of Toledo City, which was then a much larger city, the construction of the building was constantly delayed. Finally, in 1868 a congregation devoted to the Virgin Almudena, the saint that patronizes Madrid, has received the permission of the archdiocese of Toledo to build a new church.
Its construction began in 1883 and a year later Madrid became bishopric due to Pope Leo XIII. This fact allowed the construction of a cathedral instead of a simple church. Consequently, the project has been updated to reflect the important status of the building. The new draft of Marques de Cubas projected it as a neo gothic cathedral with a footprint in the form of a Latin cross. Construction has progressed very slowly and was completely stopped during the civil war in 1930. In 1944 the cathedral project is abandoned because the neo Gothic style contrasted sharply with that of neighbor construction, the famous Royal Palace. A new project is made, belonging to the architects Fernando Chueca Goitia and Carlos Sidro. They came up with a project that included many classic elements.
Although works continued until 1999, Almudena Cathedral was officially declared completed in 1993. That same year Pope John Paul II sanctified the cathedral. A statue of the Pope can be seen in front of the cathedral.
The cathedral is 104 meters long and 76 meters wide. The central dome has a diameter of 20 meters. Almudena Cathedral interior is more modern and much more modest than that of its competitor in Toledo. However, the building located next to the Royal Palace is definitely worth a visit just for its impressive size.
By Maria Morari
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